Insurance Law

California Approves License Allowing Insurance Agents to Assist Consumers Who Purchase Health Insurance Through New Health Insurance Exchange

California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones has approved Covered California's application for an insurance business entity license. The license approval will allow licensed health insurance agents to affiliate with Covered California and sell health insurance offered on California's new health insurance Exchange. Commissioner Jones also approved training materials to be used to train agents to transact health insurance through the Exchange.

"Our approval of Covered California's license will open the doors of the Exchange to health insurance agents, so they can provide their extensive knowledge and experience with health insurance to assist consumers and businesses with purchasing health insurance sold on the Exchange," said Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones. "Health insurance agents have to meet very high standards and are subject to fingerprinting, background checks, training, and licensing, and are subject to criminal investigation, fines and prosecution if they go astray."

Full implementation of healthcare reform has been a priority for the Department of Insurance since Commissioner Jones was elected Insurance Commissioner in late 2010. The Department already has implemented numerous provisions of the Affordable Care Act, providing immediate benefits to Californians and is working with federal and state partners, including Covered California.

The license approval for Covered California also provides a more efficient way for licensed agents to help consumers and businesses purchase health insurance through the Exchange, by allowing the agents to affiliate with the Exchange as opposed to obtaining appointments from each carrier selling health insurance products through the Exchange.

Additionally, the Department fast-tracked its approval of Covered California as an education training provider, thus ensuring that insurance agents completing Covered California's training receive continuing education credit. Continuing education is a requirement that all licensed agents must meet, in order to make sure they are up to date on the latest consumer protections and other insurance regulations. The Department will also monitor and review the training and training curriculum used by Covered California.

"The good news for small businesses looking to purchase through the SHOP or small business Exchange is that agents selling health plans through the Exchange are subject to our stringent licensing processes," said Commissioner Jones. "Our licensing process helps to screen out those who the public cannot trust, but if an agent violates the law or takes advantage of a business buying through the Exchange, we will use our full enforcement authority to investigate and sanction the agent, including criminal charges and prosecution, if warranted."

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