With the scheduled launch of the public exchanges less than a week away, brokers are still trying to understand how well the exchanges will promote themselves, what they'll sell, and where the professionals fit in.

Congressional Republicans were still using budget bill maneuvers to block the start of exchanges as recently as Tuesday. But in New York City, a market served by a well-funded state-based Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act exchange, carriers are already running ads promoting the exchange.

EmblemHealth, for example, is running a full-page health trivia quiz in free "shopper" newspapers to promote its ability to answer health reform questions.

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Allison Bell

Allison Bell, ThinkAdvisor's insurance editor, previously was LifeHealthPro's health insurance editor. She has a bachelor's degree in economics from Washington University in St. Louis and a master's degree in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. She can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter at @Think_Allison.