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Insurance Brokers Express Worries About Compensation Rates for Exchange-Based Sales in Latest Issue of AIS's Health Plan Week
Date:8/28/2013

Washington, DC (PRWEB) August 28, 2013

Six weeks before open enrollment begins for public exchanges, health insurance agents and brokers say they still do not have vital information on coverage options, premiums and commission payments, or even if commissions will exist in 2014. The Aug. 26 issue of Atlantic Information Services, Inc.’s (AIS) Health Plan Week features a case study on the Georgia insurance market, where two long-time agents worry about the impact this lack of information, and the potentially reduced compensation rates, will have on business models.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) does not mandate that brokers be paid a commission for selling insurance, but does stipulate that any commission paid by a carrier be equal for products sold inside and outside of the exchanges. Rick Bailey, president of brokerage Rick Bailey & Company, Inc., based in Woodstock, Ga., says historically insurers have paid between 10% and 12% for first-year commissions in the individual market on a percentage-of-premium method. Commissions generated by renewals are all over the map, but run around 5% to 8%, he says.

But for 2014, the numbers being discussed in broker circles are much lower. “I’ve heard first year will be down to 5% and as low as 2% to 3%,” Bailey says. Insurers have been cutting commissions in order to comply with the health reform law-mandated medical loss ratio requirements that went into effect in January 2011. The ACA requires insurers to spend at least 80% of individual and small-group premiums and 85% of large-group premiums on medical costs or quality improvement activities, with the excess refunded to members. Agents and brokers are directly impacted since their commissions fall into the 15% to 20% of premium revenue insurers can spend on administrative expenses.

A second market veteran, Russ Childers, an insurance agent based in Americus, Ga., and former president of the Georgia Association
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