NAHU and the District of Columbia's health care exchange are teaming up to help brokers help consumers.
The National Association of Health Underwriters was awarded by managers of the new DC Health Link a contract to develop and administer a training program for health insurance brokers who will be selling exchange coverage.
NAHU will provide an online exchange class for any licensed broker in the District of Columbia, Maryland or Virginia who wants to sell the "qualified health plans" or stand-alone dental plans available through the exchange.
The exchange will cover the training costs. Taking the course will be free for brokers.
NAHU already has developed a similar, national-level certification class for brokers and gotten the course approved for educational credit in all 50 states.
NAHU CEO Janet Trautwein said NAHU will customize the DC Health Link version of the course to reflect the characteristics of the D.C. exchange.The D.C. exchange will require brokers to go through a training process and other procedures to get certified to sell exchange coverage.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act calls for the district to open its exchange by Oct. 1.
The District of Columbia Health Benefit Exchange Authority, the agency setting up the exchange, hopes to have the exchange handle all individual business starting in 2014 and to move toward having the exchange handle all small-group business.
Brokers could continue to help consumers and small businesses buy exchange coverage, and only the brokers certified to work with the exchange could recommend that consumers or small businesses consider buying specific exchange plans.
Other exchange advisors, such as navigators, could give only general advice about how consumers and business owners could use the exchange.