News for Federally-facilitated Marketplace Agents and Brokers – September 2015 Edition
In This Issue:
- FFM Agent and Broker Training via CMS-approved Vendors
- CMS-approved Vendor Help Desks
- America’s Health Insurance Plans, Inc. (AHIP)
- Gorman Health Group
- The National Association of Health Underwriters (NAHU)
- Registration Tips for the New Marketplace Learning Management System (MLMS) Platform
- Supported Browsers for Plan Year 2016 Training
- Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) Marketplace Corner
- Establish Your SHOP Marketplace Profile Today
- SHOP Marketplace Enrollment Videos Now Available
- SHOP Marketplace Agent/Broker Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) Document Now Available
- Spanish Training Now Live for FFM Agents and Brokers
- Registration and Training Resources for Plan Year 2016
- FFM Agent and Broker Registration Completion List
- Did You Know? Help Desk Information for Agents and Brokers
- Follow us on Twitter
- Contact Us
Agent/Broker Registration for Plan Year 2016 is Now Available on the CMS Enterprise Portal
FFM Agent and Broker Training via CMS-approved Vendors
New for plan year 2016, you may complete the required FFM agent and broker training through CMS-approved vendors in addition to the CMS-developed training offered on the Marketplace Learning Management System (MLMS). Completion of a training curriculum, including the associated exams, through one of the CMS-approved vendors will fulfill the FFM training requirement for agents and brokers registering to participate in the Individual Marketplace for plan year 2016. CMS highly recommends that agents and brokers participating in the SHOP Marketplace take the SHOP Marketplace training, but it is not required.
CMS is excited to announce that there are three CMS-approved vendors offering FFM training for agents and brokers in plan year 2016. They are America’s Health Insurance Plans, Inc., Gorman Health Group, and the National Association of Health Underwriters.
Vendors are required to cover, at a minimum, the same topic areas as those covered in the FFM agent and broker training offered by CMS through the MLMS, and, pursuant to 45 CFR § 155.222, are required to offer continuing education unit (CEU) credits in a minimum of five states where the FFM is operating. The number of CEU credits and the states where they are available may vary by vendor. Vendors may also charge a fee to agents and brokers that choose to take their FFM agent and broker trainings. For more information on the trainings each CMS-approved vendor offers, please visit their individual webpages, which are linked above.
If you choose to complete FFM agent and broker training through a CMS-approved vendor, you will still need to execute the applicable Agreements on the MLMS after completing training and prior to assisting consumers seeking to enroll in coverage through the FFM. You are also required to establish an account, select the agent/broker role, and complete identity proofing on the CMS Enterprise Portal, if you have not already done so in a previous plan year. The vendors’ trainings are accessible via the Agent Broker Registration Status page on the CMS Enterprise Portal.
As mentioned above, CMS also offers plan year 2016 FFM agent and broker training, as it has done for the past two years. The training offered by CMS through the MLMS does not offer CEU credits and is offered at no cost.
CMS-approved Vendor Help Desks
Each CMS-approved vendor has created a Help Desk to support agents and brokers with any issues they may experience in accessing the vendor’s site as well as answer questions about its training options. Please note that the Help Desk hours vary by CMS-approved vendor. The Help Desk details are listed below:
America’s Health Insurance Plans, Inc. (AHIP)
If you require assistance with AHIP’s training option, you may contact the AHIP Help Desk at 800-984-8919. The Help Desk operators are available by phone from 8:00 AM – 12:00 AM Eastern Time (ET), Monday through Friday and from 8:30 AM – 5:30 PM ET, Saturday and Sunday. You may also contact the AHIP Help Desk via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gorman Health Group
If you require assistance with Gorman Health Group’s training option, you may contact the Gorman Health Group Help Desk at 877-207-0349. The Help Desk operators are available by phone from 8:00 AM – 7:00 PM ET, Monday through Friday and from 10:00 AM – 3:00 PM ET, Saturday and Sunday. Please note that these hours are subject to change after Open Enrollment. You may also contact Gorman Health Group’s Help Desk via email at email@example.com.
National Association of Health Underwriters (NAHU)
If you require assistance with NAHU’s training option, you may contact the NAHU Help Desk at 844-257-0990. The Help Desk operators are available by phone from 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM ET, Monday through Friday. You may also contact the NAHU Help Desk via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Registration Tips for the New Marketplace Learning Management System (MLMS) Platform
Earlier this month, CMS launched the plan year 2016 agent and broker training on the new MLMS training platform. The new MLMS has replaced the previously used Medicare Learning Network® (MLN) and is now accessible via the Agent Broker Registration page on the CMS Enterpise Portal.
If you plan to participate in the FFM for plan year 2016, regardless of whether you participated in previous years, you need to complete an agent/broker profile on the MLMS, select a preferred training option via the CMS Enterprise Portal, complete the required Marketplace training and exams on the MLMS or through a CMS-approved vendor, and accept the applicable Marketplace Agreements on the MLMS. For agents and brokers who only plan to assist consumers in the SHOP Marketplace, completion of the recommended training modules is strongly encouraged, but not required.
There is a limit to the number of agents and brokers that can take the training at one time. If you attempt to begin training and there are no spots available, the MLMS will place you in a virtual waiting room. In order to avoid this, consider taking the training during an “off-peak” time, when you have a much better chance of accessing the system without waiting. Off-peak is any time prior to 11:00 AM or after 5:00 PM ET on a weekday and anytime on the weekend.
Supported Browsers for Plan Year 2016 Training
To ensure the best experience when completing the plan year 2016 FFM agent and broker training on the new MLMS training platform, please use Firefox or Google Chrome as your web browser.
- You can download the latest version of Mozilla Firefox at the following link: https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/new/.
- You can download the latest version of Google Chrome at the following link: https://www.google.com/chrome/browser/desktop/.
If you are using Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome and are still experiencing any technical or system-specific issues, please contact the MLMS Help Desk at MLMSHelpDesk@cms.hhs.gov or the applicable vendor’s help desk.
Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) Marketplace Corner
Establish Your SHOP Marketplace Profile Today
Agents and brokers who have signed the SHOP Privacy and Security Agreement through the MLMS have access to the SHOP Marketplace Agent/Broker Portal. On the portal, agents and brokers can create a searchable profiel accessible by employers seeking assistance with their SHOP Marketplace application and enrollment. Through the SHOP Marketplace Agent/Broker Portal, agents and brokers can manage clients, create proposals for clients to review and approve, submit enrollment on behalf of clients, and satisfy the requirements to receive compensation for sales.
To establish a searchable profie on the SHOP Marketplace Agent/Broker Portal, visit https://healthcare.gov/marketplace/small-businesses/agent and log in using your CMS Enterprise Portal username and password and confirm the accuracy of the information provided. Remember, the information provided there will be searchable by employers, so make sure the appropriate contact information is listed.
SHOP Marketplace Enrollment Videos Now Available
Step-by-step application and enrollment videos are now available online for agents, brokers, employers, and employees. Each video will walk you through the steps you need to take in order to assist your clients to apply, enroll, and respond to an offer of SHOP Marketplace coverage on HealthCare.gov.
Watch the videos here:
SHOP Marketplace Agent/Broker Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) Document Now Available
The SHOP Marketplace makes it easy for agents and brokers to enroll their small business clients in health or dental coverage, online through HealthCare.gov.
A new FAQ document is now available for agents and brokers operating in the SHOP Marketplace and can be found here.
Spanish Training Now Live for FFM Agents and Brokers
CMS is pleased to announce that the Spanish version of the CMS-developed plan year 2016 FFM training for agents and brokers is now live on the MLMS. Please note that completion of the Spanish version satisfies the FFM agent and broker training requirement. Look for additional details on the Agents and Brokers Resources webpage regarding how to complete the Spanish version of the FFM agent and broker training for plan year 2016 in the coming weeks.
Registration and Training Resources for Plan Year 2016
Are you looking for additional help with the 2016 agent and broker training and registration process? CMS will be releasing FFM agent and broker registration and training resources, such as question and answer documents, quick reference guides, registration guided tour videos for different steps of the registration process, as well as other topics of importance to FFM agents and brokers. Look for additional details in future editions of the “News for Agents and Brokers” newsletter and on the Agents and Brokers Resources webpage.
FFM Agent and Broker Registration Completion List
CMS maintains an FFM Agent and Broker Registration Completion List, which contains the National Producer Numbers (NPNs) for agents and brokers who have completed all the FFM registration and training requirements. For plan year 2016, CMS will continue to maintain a list that contains the NPNs of agents and brokers who have completed the FFM registration and training requirements for plan year 2016. CMS will post this list on the Agents and Brokers Resources webpage and will update it twice a month. It is important to confirm that your NPN appears on this list after you complete the plan year 2016 registration and training process. Issuers will review the FFM Agent and Broker Registration Completion List to confirm that agents and brokers with whom they have agreements are authorized to assist consumers in selecting plans through the FFM. Users can search NPNs by clicking the arrow in cell A1, or by using the “Ctrl + F” (or “Command + F”) keystroke. All NPNs are self-reported by the agent or broker during FFM registration, and should be validated against state and/or other National Association of Insurance Commissioners records to confirm state licensure.
Did You Know?
There are a number of Help Desks to assist you if you have questions about registration, training, or other topics.
FFM Producer and Assister Help Desk: Contact the FFM Producer and Assister Help Desk at FFMProducer-AssisterHelpDesk@cms.hhs.gov for questions about agent or broker participation in the FFM, including general registration and training questions (not related to a specific training platform), even if they are SHOP related; identity proofing/Experian issues requiring manual verifications, and policy questions.
Marketplace Call Center: For questions/comments about the FFM application and enrollment, contact 1-800-318-2596 (TTY: 1-855-889-4325). This Call Center is available 7 days a week, 24 hours a day.
Exchange Operations Support Center (XOSC): Contact the XOSC at 1-855-CMS-1515 (855-267-1515) or CMS_FEPS@cms.hhs.gov for questions about password resets and account lockouts on the CMS Enterprise Portal; HealthCare.gov website issues; other CMS Enterprise Portal account issues, requests, or error messages. This Help Desk is available Monday through Saturday, 8:00 AM – 10:00 PM ET.
MLMS Help Desk: For technical or system-specific issues related to the MLMS, user-specific questions about maneuvering the learning management system site, or accessing CMS training and exams on the MLMS, contact MLMSHelpDesk@CMS.HHS.gov.
SHOP Call Center: For inquiries related to the SHOP Marketplace Agent/Broker Portal, contact the SHOP Call Center at 1-800-706-7893 (TTY: 711) Monday through Friday, 9:00 AM – 7:00 PM ET.
Web-broker Help Desk: For questions about web-broker participation in the FFM, contact Webbroker@cms.hhs.gov.
Follow us on Twitter
Agents and brokers can find important information and updates by following the CMS Twitter handle (@CMSGov) or by searching the hashtags #ABFFM or #ABFFSHOP on Twitter.
For questions pertaining to the FFM agent and broker program, including the FFM registration requirements, please contact the FFM Producer and Assister Help Desk via email at FFMProducer-AssisterHelpDesk@cms.hhs.gov