health insurance changes required to sell Obamacare
Changes to healthcare comes with requirements including agent certification.

Required education for insurance agents selling the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare

Finally, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is fully under way on a national scale. After much publicity and expectation, the Act known as Obamacare has been launched. More clients are visiting the Obamacare website every day to apply for coverage. Insurance companies and state regulatory agencies have implemented the changes mandated under this law. They involve vocabulary, laws and insurance products. With the sweeping changes brought to the market by the ACA, it goes without saying there are new educational requirements administered by the State of New York prior to an agent being authorized to sell these new programs to the general public.

Navigating the changes to health care law requires an understanding of the insurance programs offered as well as a knowledge of how the law affects the individual, family, and businesses who provide coverage to employees. Certification courses, required by law and through the New York State Department of Financial Services (NYSDFS), provide the insurance agent with the facts and procedures included in the new law.

One of the primary goals of the New York insurance agent is to get more leads and improve their success by serving more customers. Failing to get certified and approved to sell Obamacare means missing the opportunity to provide insurance services to more people, families, and businesses. Completing the specialized insurance training course to get certified in the ACA requires only two short, affordable courses.  It makes sense for every agent to get certified. A nice bonus is that both of these certifications also count toward an insurance agent’s NY State continuing education requirements.

Do I Need Special Training To Sell Insurance Affected by the Affordable Care Act?

For existing New York Life, Accident & Health AND Property & Casualty insurance licensees, a certification is required for the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) and Individual Marketplace. Fortunately, we know a very convenient New York City insurance school where you can take these certifications. 🙂 These certifications are mandatory if you plan to sell, solicit or negotiate any of the plans through the New York Health Benefit Exchange (NYHBE).

Navigating the marketplace can be challenging for small business professionals as well as individuals. There are many new terms associated with the new programs introduced by the Affordable Care Act. Before a New York licensed agent can effectively understand and answer questions required to sell Obamacare, they must be an expert in this type of insurance.

What Do I Need to Do to Get Certified?

There are two courses you must complete in order to be certified to sell plans through the New York Health Benefit Exchange. One is for small businesses and the other is for individuals.

The Exchange Certification Courses – SHOP class will ensure that the insurance professional can properly understand how the Affordable Care Act plans affect small businesses and the options they have open to them. This is important since the ACA  has specific rules in place about how small businesses must go about offering their employees healthcare benefits.. If you want to sell Obamacare then you need to know how to address the concerns of small businesses.  Something important to note is that this class must be taken before it is possible to register for the next one.

The New York Producer Individual Marketplace Certification offers a different perspective on the ACA – that of the individual consumer who is signing up for these benefits and paying everything out of their own pocket. Individuals have different questions, concerns and needs from small business owners and thus different information is involved to prepare insurance professionals to sell Obamacare to potential individual customers. Again, you cannot register for this class until you have completed the SHOP certification.

Why Should I Get Certified to Sell Obamacare Insurance Under the Affordable Care Act?

Affordable Care Act - how to sell Obamacare
Every New York insurance agent must acquire two certifications before becoming eligible to sell the Affordable Care Act

As a New York insurance agent, your clients – business and personal – are going to have questions about the ACA. Additionally the market opens up insurance to a whole new set of prospects and clients which means your production stands a good chance of increasing. Adding the ability to be invited to an exchange and provide these services is all upside for you. To properly sell Obamacare you need to understand that it is not one-size-fits-all product.

Because only about 38% of New Yorkers have health insurance through their employer, the majority of New Yorkers will be eligible for coverage through the New York Health Benefit Exchange. Once an agent has completed the two required courses and applied with the Exchange, they will be invited to be one of the providers for the services created by the ACA. Failure to do so will effectively be disqualifying yourself from working with 62% of the state.

Each of the two required certification classes are 8 hours long.  Once the courses have been attended and the agent has passed the final exam, then they must register with the Exchange and wait for an invitation to participate. As the number of people who apply for health care coverage under Obamacare increases, the number of clients leaving the traditional market may also increase. So, as you can see, not becoming certified to market and sell Obamacare hurts your bottom line. For more information on how you can get certified to sell Obamacare, please see the course overview here.

Yes, you need to be certified to sell Obamacare.