Today I completed the certification exam to be a Certified Insurance Agent for the Covered California (CC) Marketplace. In order to be able to do this you sit through in interminably long 8 hour dry class, then about 4 hours of online instruction then take an online exam which you must past at 80% or better.
The last step though, not sure how that will be completed. You see, the Marketplace still has to 'contract' with agents and the agent agreement, or contract, has not been finalized. At least not as of last Friday. Hhmm. The Marketplace DOES want agents to participate, but like so many other things with health care reform, everything has taken longer to accomplish than anticipated.
Depending on which report you see, there are between 16,000-18,000 licensed agents in California. Roughly 13,000 have registered with CC indicating their intent to pursue certification. According to a conference call last Friday, of these 13,000, only 1600 have completed the certification process (make that 1601!) And they aren't contracted yet, but should be soon....
When shopping on CC, you have three options:
- Doing it yourself-- don't--not this first time
- Obtaining help from a Certified Enrollment Counselor at CC
- Working with a Certified Insurance Agent (CIA)
Obviously I'm going to suggest working with an agent, but for good reason. The Enrollment Counselors will only be able to explain what is available on the exchange, and because they are not licensed agents, they cannot 'recommend' plans. That is considered soliciting and they aren't licensed to do that. Work with a Certified Insurance Agent. Working with either of us doesn't add to the cost, but an Agent can also tell you what is available outside CC. You don't necessarily have to buy through the Marketplace, but you should evaluate all options, especially if you might be eligible for a subsidy.