When companies like Anthem and United Healthcare stopped paying commissions to brokers for anyone they would sign outside of open enrollment, it not only hurts the brokers but also the consumer.
In Nevada, United Healthcare continues to pay commissions for sales off the exchange — without subsidy — but a broker is not paid for sales on the exchange, with subsidy, for similar products.
First of all, it is wrong for the brokers since broker payments were included in the prices that were set by the companies when they proposed rates for 2016.
But, secondly, it is wrong for the consumers who depend on help paying for their insurance through the exchange. With brokers not getting paid to do policies for companies like Anthem and United Healthcare on the exchange, the lower-income consumers are left to fend for themselves because the brokers have no incentive to assist them. That is a boost to the insurance companies because brokers often serve as advocates to their clients to make sure the right thing is done by the insurance companies when dealing with their clients. Often, the clients don’t know what to do to dissolve a dispute, but the broker does.
The state of California has already promised brokers that any company on Covered California in 2017 will be required to pay brokers commissions throughout the year — not just during open enrollment. The new Nevada commissioner, Barbara Richardson, is aware of the California ruling, but has not yet issued a similar pledge to brokers and consumers.
As rates are proposed for 2017, however, it is sure to be a topic of discussion between the Nevada Division of Insurance and the producers. The same three producers — Prominence, United Healthcare and Anthem — have already committed to be on the exchange in Nevada in 2017.
Of the three, Prominence is the only company paying brokers commissions during special enrollment periods brought on by a qualifying life event such as loss of insurance, birth or death of a family member, change in marital status, movement from one state to another, change in citizenship status, etc.
Anyone in any of these situations is encouraged to call us. We are RLM, LLC, striving to be your affordable healthcare pros. Come by and see us at 2307 N. Carson St., in Carson City.
If you have a QLE, call us at 775-224-7169, 775-450-6769, 775-338-3647, or call our office number of 775-883-3414.
Ron Bliss is a former long-time sports writer who has been doing health insurance since 2009. He is certified on both Covered California and the Nevada Health Link and can sell products on and off both exchanges. RLM, LLC also offers a variety of dental plans to include dental-vision-hearing plans in both states, as well as a wide variety of Medicare supplements and other health supplemental products to include critical illness, short-term care, disability, plans to cover in-home or nursing home costs, accidents and hospital indemnity policies.