Health insurance agents and brokers looking to sell policies through the small business SHOP Marketplace in 2015 need to know these five updates to prepare for enrollments.
1) Required Annual Training
To continue certification with the SHOP Marketplace, or to become a new certified agent, agents and brokers must successfully complete the annual Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) training program. Whether a broker needs to complete the entire training curriculum, or only portions, depends on training completed in 2014.
2) Online Enrollment Available for 2015
In 2015, the federally-run SHOP Marketplace will finally be set up for online enrollment. As most brokers are familiar with, SHOP enrollment thus far has been limited to paper applications.
Additionally, the SHOP Marketplace will have a searchable database of agents and brokers registered with the SHOP.
3) Employee Choice in Some States
In 2015, fourteen additional states (AK, FL, GA, IN, MO, NE, ND, OH, TN, TX, VA, WI, and WY) will offer "employee choice."
Employee choice in the SHOP Marketplaces means that a small employer could offer employees a menu of plan options through the SHOP, like many larger businesses do today. This provision was not implemented in 2014 with the federally-run SHOP Marketplace, though many of the state run Marketplaces implemented this feature in 2014. States were given the opportunity to decide whether or not they wanted to implement employee choice for 2015.
4) New Enrollment Process
There will be a new SHOP enrollment process beginning November 15, 2014, coinciding with the start of the 2015 open enrollment period. As part of the new enrollment process, there will be a new portal for agents and brokers to create an account, monitor enrollment progress and status of their employer clients, and manage the account for the employer.
5) Resources for Brokers
The Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight (CCIIO) launched a series of weekly webinars on what brokers and agents need to know about the SHOP in 2015.
Brokers can register for training webinars and access SHOP training information and FAQs at http://www.regtap.info.