Though the Department of Health and Human Services anticipates the agent and broker industry will play a "critical role" in health exchange plan enrollment, whether (and to what extent) agents and brokers will be able to participate in these exchanges is a decision states will have to make before 2014.  

According to new rules announced Monday, it will be left up to individual states to decide whether agents and brokers will be permitted to assist qualified individuals, employers or employees with enrolling in a qualified health plan offered in state-run health insurance exchanges.

Agents and brokers will be permitted to become exchange "navigators," but must meet state requirements for these roles. If they choose to become a navigator, agents and brokers will not be allowed compensation from an issuer for helping an individual or small group select a specific QHP, but will receive grant money for services that go beyond enrollment (see "Navigator duties" explained on next page).

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