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How to Become an Obamacare Insurance Agent

Learn the steps to become an Obamacare insurance agent, including required training and licensing.

DOPPCALL

DOPPCALL Editor

Super
June 15, 2024
How to Become an Obamacare Insurance Agent
How to Become an Obamacare Insurance Agent
DOPPCALL

DOPPCALL Editor

Super
June 15, 2024

How to Become an Obamacare Insurance Agent

Learn the steps to become an Obamacare insurance agent, including required training and licensing.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA), commonly known as Obamacare, has significantly changed the health insurance landscape in the United States. As more individuals seek coverage through the ACA marketplace, there’s a growing demand for knowledgeable insurance agents to guide them through the process.

So, if you’re one of those who want to become a new agent, you are just away from some process and requirements. This process involves several key steps, including registering with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), completing the required training, and obtaining necessary certifications and licenses.

Now, all of this might sound a bit overwhelming, but our comprehensive guide should help you get through with ease. Let’s explain how to become an Obamacare insurance agent in seven steps.

What Is the Affordable Care Act (ACA) or Obamacare?

The Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare or the ACA, is the healthcare law passed in 2010. Its goal was to make health insurance more affordable and available to more Americans with low-income households. Here are a few key things the ACA does:

  • Allows adults under 26 to stay on their parent's health insurance.

  • Prevents insurance companies from denying coverage or charging more due to pre-existing conditions.

  • Provides financial help (subsidies) for lower-income Americans to purchase health insurance on the HealthCare.gov marketplace.

  • Expands who qualify for Medicaid in many states.

  • Stops lifetime dollar limits on coverage and cancellations unless there is fraud.

  • Requires insurance plans to spend a minimum amount on actual medical care.

  • Prohibits plans from charging women more than men.

The ACA's impact goes beyond just the HealthCare.gov site. Its protections and assistance have helped many Americans get and keep health insurance.

What Are the Benefits of Becoming an Obamacare Insurance Agent?

The Affordable Care Act has revolutionized the healthcare industry in the United States by expanding the qualification process for more American citizens. 

So, as an agent, you'll be able to assist more individuals and families who need help understanding their options and enrolling in a plan. There are several benefits to becoming an Obamacare insurance agent, including:

  • Access to a larger market: With a minimal enrolling threshold, Obamacare has expanded healthcare coverage to millions of Americans. It has created a significant demand for insurance agents who can help individuals and families navigate the complex world of health insurance.

  • Attractive commission rates: Obamacare insurance agents can earn attractive commission rates for selling health insurance plans, making it a lucrative career choice. On average, agents earn between $41,000 and $55,000 per year.

  • Free training and support: You can get free training to begin your journey as an Obamacare agent through CMS. Besides, General Agencies (GAs) and Field Marketing Organizations (FMOs) offer training and support to Obamacare insurance agents, helping them stay up-to-date on the latest regulations and best practices.

  • Flexibility: As an Obamacare insurance agent, you have the flexibility to work independently or as part of a larger organization. This allows you to choose the work environment that best suits your needs.

  • Long-term relationships and opportunities: Obamacare insurance policy covers more people and age groups than others. That’s why agents have the opportunity to build long-term relationships with their clients, providing ongoing support and guidance as their clients' healthcare needs change over time.

7 Steps to Become a Registered Obamacare Insurance Agent

Before you can help people enroll in Obamacare plans, there are a few things you have to do first. 

The very first step is to register as an agent through the CMS on the website HealthCare.gov. Once you are finished registering it's time to sign some agreements electronically with the government on following the rules for selling plans. Let’s show you how to get it all done in seven steps. 

Step 1: Make an Account on the CMS Portal

  • First, go to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services website - also known as the CMS portal.

  • On the website, click the option to create a new account.

  • Then, under the dropdown menu, select "Federally Facilitated Marketplace/Request for MLMS Training Access" - that's what the HealthCare.gov site is called.


  • The site will walk you through creating your username and password. Be sure to use an email address you check often, as they'll send you a verification email.

  • Once you complete all the steps, you'll get a confirmation email saying your account is set up.

Step 2: Request Access to the Federal Health Insurance Marketplace

  • Once you're logged into your CMS account, go to the "My Portal" page.

  • From there, click the button to "Add Application". This will show you a list of different roles you can request.

  • Type "Fed" or "Fe" into the search bar of Access Catalog to find the right one. Then select the option called "Federally Facilitated Marketplace."

  • On the next page, choose the role "Agent Broker Training Access" from the dropdown list.

  • After choosing that, click the " Next " button to submit your request.

Step 3: Verify Your Identity

  • Once you request access, you’ll be asked to confirm who you are. It will give you instructions for verifying your identity online. Click "Next" to get started.

  • Enter your personal information, like name, address, and date of birth. Then, answer some verification questions.

  • After completing the online process, it will ask you to log out and log back into your CMS account.

  • If, for some reason, it can't verify you automatically, no worries. The site will provide a phone number to call Experian, the company helping with identity checks. They can verify over the phone instead.

Step 4: Create Your Agent Profile

  • Log back into your CMS portal account. Then click on the tile labeled "Marketplace Training - Agent Broker."

  • This will show you available training links. Select the one called MLMS Training.


  • MLMS stands for "Marketing, Licensing, and Management System." It's where you set up your profile.

  • In your MLMS profile, fill in all your info, such as name, role, and contact details. Be sure to choose "Agent Broker" as your role.


  • The info you provide will be used on the HealthCare.gov site to show up when people search for local agents. That way customers can find your info to get help enrolling.

  • Once you've filled everything out, click "Save/Update" and then "Next" to finish setting up your profile.

Step 5: Finish the Required Training

  • Head back to the CMS portal and click on the "Marketplace Training - Agent Broker" tile again.

  • Choose the MLMS Training link to see your training options. Follow the steps on the page to enroll in training.


  • You can either do the training through the CMS site itself or through another approved training provider (e.g., SHOP).


  • If choosing the outside provider, click their "Access Training" link - it will take you straight to their site from the CMS portal.

  • No matter which training you pick, once complete, it will send you back to the CMS portal again. That's where you finish registering by signing agreements.

Step 6: Sign the Important Agreements

  • So, after updating your profile and finishing the training, go back to your CMS portal. 

  • Now, you need to carefully read all the agreements that apply to being an agent.

  • These agreements say you understand the rules for selling health plans and will follow them properly. 

  • Take your time reading each full agreement. Once you're done, select the "I Agree" button for each one.

Step 7: Confirm Your Registration and Print Your Certificate

  • Go back to the MLMS homepage and click "Transcript." Follow the prompts to get your certificate.


  • Also, check your registration status on the Agent and Broker Marketplace Registration tracker page. This confirms you completed all the required steps.


  • Give it a day or two for your info to show up. Then, double-check the list of fully registered agents on the Agent and Broker FFM Registration Completion List (RCL).

  • As long as your name and agent ID number appear there, you're good to go and can start helping clients enroll.

  • Your contact details should also appear on the "Find Local Help" section of HealthCare.gov within a few days. But if they don’t, email FFMProducer-AssisterHelpDesk@cms.hhs.gov for further assistance.

Requirements to Sell Obamacare Insurance as an Agent

Health insurance sales for people under 65 years old aren't as strictly controlled as sales for Medicare. But there are still some important rules for agents who sell ACA or Obamacare plans. Following these guidelines is key to doing everything correctly.

Because of changes made for 2024, there are new rules for agents who help people sign up for insurance through the healthcare marketplace. We'll go over all the important sales guidelines you need to meet.

Licensing

As an agent, you’ll need a valid license from your home state to sell health insurance. The license has to say you’re approved to sell in the state and any other states where your clients live.

To get licensed, you must meet your state's specific requirements. This usually involves taking some classes and passing a test. And once licensed, agents can become certified to sell Obamacare plans, too. 

This tool can help you through the specifics of your state's licensing process.

Certification

You also need to be certified before you sell Obamacare plans. There are a couple of different types of certification depending on where you sell plans.

If you're helping people in the federal marketplace, you must complete the Federally Facilitated Marketplace training (FFM). It’s free and available through the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). This is the one we covered earlier in this article.

However, some states run their own marketplaces instead of using the federal one - Texas, for example. If that's where you'll sell plans, you need to do training through your state's marketplace website.

Appointment

To help people sign up for Obamacare health insurance plans, you'll then need approval from the insurance companies you’ll represent as an agent.

Getting "appointed" by a company means they're okay with you representing their plans to customers. When you're appointed, the company agrees you understand their plans well enough to explain the options properly.

You need an appointment for each insurance company whose plans you want to sell in the state you'll be working in. This ensures that everything is above board between you and the company.

Two More Things to Know Before Starting to Sell Obamacare Insurance

Besides the licensing, certification, and appointment requirements, there are a couple more important things to know before you start selling Obamacare insurance plans. 

The 2024 Marketplace Final Rule says that agents must get and keep records of their clients' permission before they can provide services or help them enroll. Agents also need to get documentation showing that the client has reviewed and confirmed that their eligibility application is accurate.

Here’s how these work:

Getting Permission from Clients

Starting this past June, agents must get written permission from clients before helping them enroll in a health plan.

The consent form should include the date, the client's name, and your name as the agent. Clients can cancel their consent at any time if they change their mind.

The consent can be collected in writing, via email, or by recorded phone call. Whichever way, you need to keep the permission on file for ten years.

If asked, you must be able to provide proof that the client gave you the OK to assist them. Make sure to follow all the guidelines—it protects both you and the client. For more details on these new rules, you can check out the FAQ from CMS. 

Getting Eligibility Clearance from Clients

Besides getting consent, agents also need to double-check eligibility applications with clients.

You'll need a document stating the date the client looked over the application info, including their name and your name as the agent. Then you need them to officially "attest" or confirm that they checked it over and everything looks accurate.

Like the client’s consent documentation, the government requires you to keep this paperwork for ten years—just in case they ever want to check on something.

This application review document protects both you and the client. It shows the information was checked before submitting.

You can use any format for the attestation that your client is comfortable with. The most important thing is having their signature saying they made sure their info is correct before finishing the sign-up process.

Here are a few templates/examples that can assist you in completing the above requirements.

  1. ACA/Obamacare Consumer Authorization Form

  2. ACA/Obamacare Eligibility Attestation Form

  3. ACA/Obamacare Consumer Eligibility Attestation Call Script

What Are the Potential Reasons for Not Being Selected As an Obamacare Agent?

If you’ve followed all the guidelines we’ve shared above, it’s unlikely that you’ll be denied to be selected as an Obamacare agent. Yet, you may still be rejected for several reasons. Such as:

  • Insufficient training: As you’ve seen from the application process, you must complete all the training listed on the CMS portal. So, if you miss one or two before submitting your application, you could be rejected. 

  • Incomplete application: If you do not provide all the required information or documentation in your application, you could be denied selection. 

  • Multiple application attempts: According to the Obamacare policy, each applicant can only attempt one submission while creating their profile on Healthcare.gov. So, if you try multiple times when creating yours, you may not be able to apply.

  • Legal restrictions: If you have a criminal record or a history of fraud, you may not be able to become an Obamacare agent.

  • Compliance issues: Obamacare agents are required to comply with certain regulations and standards. If there are concerns about your ability to comply, you may not have been selected.

Conclusion

Hopefully, by following what we covered in this article, you'll have everything in place to begin your new career as an Obamacare health insurance agent. 

Helping people get affordable healthcare is rewarding work. Be sure to keep up with ongoing training so you can provide clients with the best possible service. And don't forget to market your services locally so customers know they have an expert to turn to for enrollment assistance. 

We hope that you'll soon be making a real difference in people's lives and your own through your work in the health insurance marketplace.

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