DC Obamacare Exchange Still Hasn’t Paid Its Insurance Brokers For Sign-ups

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The Washington, D.C. Obamacare exchange still hasn’t paid many insurance brokers for signing customers up for the exchange’s health coverage, months after the first open enrollment period ended, The Washington Post reports.

Professional insurance brokers worked intensively with the Obamacare exchange in the capital, which had hoped to make its marketplace extremely broker-friendly. But errors in transmitting broker information along with customers’ policies is preventing the brokers who stepped up to work with the health care law from getting paid for it.

“I’ve been very supportive, I put a lot of work into it, and I’ve gotten nothing,” Steve Nearman, an insurance broker who works with the exchange, told The Washington Post. Nearman said he has helped almost 100 D.C. clients purchase coverage on the exchange, earning him thousands of dollars from commissions that D.C. Health Link hasn’t paid.

Exchange Director Mila Kofman told the Post they’re working on fixing the commission problem.

“It’s a really big problem,” Kofman said. “People should be paid for what they do.”

The hold-up appears to be yet another technology hiccough for an Obamacare exchange. The exchange uses an electronic enrollment form to communicate health coverage to the insurer, but when the broker’s complete information isn’t included in the form, the broker can’t receive the commission.

After the exchange attempted a fix in February and failed, brokers are now resorting to compiling their own client and coverage lists, contacting their clients and getting signed forms to present to D.C. Health Link in order to finally be paid.

Rob Poli, president of the Insurance Marketing Center, a firm that serves as a go-between for brokers and the exchange’s insurers, told WaPo that most of the 100 brokers he represents hadn’t been paid as of late June.

“Maryland, with all its problems, the brokers have still gotten paid,” Poli pointed out.

D.C.’s Obamacare exchange has faced its share of problems, technical or otherwise, but Maryland’s health care marketplace collapsed during the first enrollment period last fall — forcing state officials to dump the technology and start over from scratch.

Poli doesn’t believe all brokers who signed customers up for exchange coverage will ever be fully paid for their work. Some can’t compile their own client lists to match to exchange information; some of the exchange’s information is incomplete itself; and brokers aren’t likely to seek out clients because the process is simply “embarrassing,” Poli said.

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Sarah Hurtubise