Bookmark and Share

June 2014 St@teside

Web Brokers' Potential Role in State-Based Marketplaces

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is already greatly expanding individual health insurance coverage, particularly among lower-income uninsured individuals. However, this is neither easy nor inexpensive to sustain, and it will require ongoing, effective public-private partnerships on multiple levels. One potential partnership opportunity is with “web brokers” who sell individual health insurance online, functioning as private distribution channels in a fashion similar to the new Marketplaces and offering a choice of health plans from multiple insurers, while relying primarily on websites and call centers for customer service. This brief, “Understanding the Potential Role Web Brokers Can Play in State-Based Marketplaces,” which was prepared by Manatt Health Solutions and Wakely Consulting Group with support from the State Health Reform Assistance Network, assesses the role that web brokers might occupy in this continuously developing landscape, and includes an overview of:

  • The five leading web brokers;
  • The evolution of federal policy on web brokers; and
  • The options available to State-Based Marketplaces (SBMs) for working with web brokers.

This brief is intended as a tool for SBMs to investigate potential opportunities for partnerships with these entities as they look towards developing sustainable models for reaching as many consumers as possible. An executive summary that provides a brief overview of this topic is also available.