AUGUST 2016 EDITION
An electronic source of information for Federally-facilitated Marketplace (FFM) Agents and Brokers
In This Issue:
- Plan Year 2017 Agent and Broker Registration and Training is Now Live – Check out the Kick-off Message from Kevin Counihan!
- Options for Completing Plan Year 2017 FFM Agent and Broker Registration and Training
- The Marketplace Learning Management System (MLMS) Platform
- FFM Agent and Broker Training via CMS-approved Vendors
- Plan Year 2017 Registration and Training Resources
- What’s New for Plan Year 2017
- Upcoming Webinars
- Myths and Facts about Plan Year 2017 Registration and Training
- MLMS Quick Reference Guides (QRGs) and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Now Available
- New Location for the Plan Year 2016 Agent and Broker FFM Registration Completion List
- Quick Reference Guide (QRGs) on CMS Enterprise Portal User IDs
- Enhancements to FFM Agent and Broker Registration and Training for Plan Year 2017
- Refresher Training Curriculum
- No Confirmation Codes Needed for CMS-approved Vendor Training
- Enrollment in Curricula
- New Agents and Brokers Must Complete Identity Proofing to Access Training
- Changes to the Plan Year 2017 Registration Completion Certificates
- Did You Know? Who to Contact with Your Registration and Training Questions
- Follow Us on Twitter
Agent/Broker Registration for Plan Year 2017 is Now Available on the CMS Enterprise Portal
Plan Year 2017 Agent and Broker Registration and Training is Now Live – Check out the Kick-off Message from Kevin Counihan!
CMS is excited to announce FFM Agent and Broker Registration for the plan year 2017 is now live! Visit the Agents and Brokers Resources webpage for information about FFM registration and training and the important role agents and brokers play in assisting consumers in the Marketplace in a message from Kevin Counihan, CMS’ Chief Executive Officer of the Marketplace and Director of the Center for Consumer Information & Insurance Oversight (CCIIO).
Options for Completing Plan Year 2017 FFM Agent and Broker Registration and Training
Plan year 2017 FFM agent and broker training will continue to be offered through both the MLMS and through CMS-approved vendors. While both training options satisfy the FFM agent and broker training requirement, if you complete training from one of the CMS-approved vendors, you may qualify for continuing education unit (CEU) credits, depending on the state or states you operate in. See the following articles for more information about these two training options.
The Marketplace Learning Management System (MLMS) Platform
CMS is again offering FFM agent and broker training on the MLMS platform. The training offered by CMS through the MLMS does not offer CEU credits and is offered at no cost.
The MLMS is accessible via the “Agent Broker Registration Status” page on the CMS Enterprise Portal. If you plan to participate in the FFM for plan year 2017, regardless of whether you participated in past years, you need to complete or update your agent/broker profile in the MLMS, enroll in and complete the desired Marketplace training curriculum, pass the exams, and read and accept the applicable Marketplace Agreement(s). As in previous years, the SHOP Marketplace training and exam are optional, but highly recommended.
Agents and brokers who participated in the FFMs during plan year 2016 are eligible to take a Refresher Training to complete their plan year 2017 Individual Marketplace training requirement. See the Refresher Training Curriculum article below for more information.
FFM Agent and Broker Training Via CMS-approved Vendors
As in plan year 2016, you may complete the required FFM agent and broker training through CMS-approved vendors. 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 plan year 2017. If you choose to take training through a CMS-approved vendor, you are required to establish a CMS Enterprise Portal account and select the agent/broker role if you have not already done so in a previous plan year. All CMS-approved vendors offer refresher training for plan year 2016 agents and brokers returning to the Individual Marketplace. As in previous years, CMS highly recommends that agents and brokers participating in the SHOP Marketplace take the SHOP Marketplace training, but it is not required.
There are two CMS-approved vendors offering FFM training for agents and brokers for plan year 2017. They are:
For more information on the trainings each CMS-approved vendor offers, please visit the Agents and Brokers Resources webpage.
Agents and brokers who chose to complete training through a CMS-approved vendor must access the vendor’s training via the CMS Enterprise Portal and should not go directly to the vendor’s website to access the training content.
Pursuant to 45 CFR 155.222, vendors are required to offer CEU credits in a minimum of five states where the FFMs are 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 who choose to take their FFM agent and broker trainings.
If you choose to complete training through a CMS-approved vendor, you will still need to execute the applicable Agreement(s) and update your MLMS profile on the MLMS after completing required training and prior to assisting consumers seeking to enroll in coverage through the FFMs.
Plan Year 2017 Registration and Training Resources
What’s New for Plan Year 2017
There are many exciting new changes to FFM agent and broker registration and training for plan year 2017. You can find important information to help you better understand the enhancements to this year’s training in the “What’s New for Plan Year 2017” document on the Agents and Brokers Resources webpage.
Plan Year 2017 FFM Registration and Training Webinars: CMS will continue to host webinars on a recurring basis during August to help you complete plan year 2017 registration and training. The webinars will highlight updates to FFM policies and processes since plan year 2016 and will include a web-chat question and answer session immediately following the presentation. Available webinar sessions include:
- “Plan Year 2017 FFM Registration and Refresher Training for Agents and Brokers Returning to the FFMs.” This webinar will provide an abbreviated review of the registration steps, and describe the new, condensed refresher training option available to you if you completed registration for the Individual Marketplace in plan year 2016. Webinar dates are:
- August 3, 1:00 PM – 2:30 PM ET
- August 10, 1:00 PM – 2:30 PM ET
- “Plan Year 2017 FFM Registration and Training for Agents and Brokers New to the FFMs.” This webinar will provide a detailed discussion of registration steps and training requirement to assure you have the information you need to complete registration, including some steps that returning agents and brokers need not perform. This webinar will be presented on:
- August 4, 11:00 AM – 12:30 PM ET
Registration for the webinars is now open and you will only be allowed to register for one session. To register, please log in to www.REGTAP.info. If you have questions on the webinar registration process, visit the “Agent and Broker Webinars” section of the Agents and Brokers Resources webpage for more information.
Myths and Facts about Plan Year 2017 Registration and Training
CMS has created the resource, “Myths and Facts about Federally-facilitated Marketplace Plan Year 2017 Registration for Agents and Brokers” to dispel some of the most common misconceptions agents and brokers have about registration and training for plan year 2017. You should review this document on the Agents and Brokers Resources webpage, along with the information related to registration training through the MLMS and CMS-approved vendors provided in this newsletter, to make sure you are prepared!
MLMS Quick Reference Guides (QRGs) and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Now Available
The “Quick Reference Guide: Plan Year 2017 FFM Registration for Agents and Brokers” provides a quick overview about how to complete FFM registration for plan year 2017. In addition, the “Quick Reference Guide: Plan Year 2017 Computer Configuration Requirements” provides instructions for preparing your system for the functional requirements of the MLMS. Finally, you can review the “Marketplace Learning Management System Frequently Asked Questions,” which provides a list of common terms and their definitions, as well as answers to some of the most common questions agents and brokers have related to plan year 2017 registration and training. You can find all of these resources on the Agents and Brokers Resources webpage.
New Location for the Plan Year 2016 Agent and Broker FFM Registration Completion List
The Agent Broker FFM Registration Completion List, which contains National Producer Numbers (NPNs) for agents, brokers, and web-brokers who have completed FFM registration, has a new look. In this new format, a separate entry will appear for each plan year in which an agent, broker, or web-broker has completed registration. (Previously, CMS maintained separate Registration Completion Lists for each plan year.)
CMS anticipates refreshing this list every Friday by 4:00 PM ET. You can access the list via the Agents and Brokers Resources webpage or by logging in to your CMS Enterprise Portal account and going to the Agent and Broker FFM Registration Status Page. You can check your registration status by entering your NPN in the search functionality on the top right of the dataset (see the magnifying glass icon).
To get a better idea of the new look and feel of the list, click here. You can also check out the FFM Registration Completion List Data Dictionary on the Agent Broker FFM Registration Status Page. The Data Dictionary is a list of the data fields and descriptions provided in the Registration Completion List spreadsheet.
For additional information, you can also review the slides from the “Agent and Broker FFM Registration and Termination Completion Lists” webinar that CMS hosted on June 15. The webinar discussed changes CMS is making to improve agents’ and brokers’ access to the Registration Completion List and Registration Termination List.
Quick Reference Guide (QRG) on CMS Enterprise Portal User IDs
To log in to the CMS Enterprise Portal to complete registration and training, you need to have a CMS user account. It is important, however, that users not create multiple user accounts. Having multiple or duplicate accounts can lead to delays, such as not being listed on the Agent and Broker FFM Registration Completion List and/or delays in receiving credit or compensation from issuers for FFM enrollment transactions.
You can review the “Quick Reference Guide: Avoiding the Creation of a Duplicate CMS Enterprise Portal Account” to find out how you can use the following self-service options:
- Find out if you have a CMS user account and retrieve your CMS User ID and password
- Reset the password to your CMS user account
Note: If you previously created a CMS user account, but did not complete FFM registration, you can still use your existing account and do not need to create a new one.
Enhancements to FFM Agent and Broker Registration and Training for Plan Year 2017
Refresher Training Curriculum
For the first time, agents and brokers who participated in the FFMs for plan year 2016 are eligible to take a streamlined refresher training. CMS estimates returning agents and brokers will spend an estimated two hours completing the scenario-based refresher training modules and exam, in comparison to the approximately four hours (not including SHOP Marketplace) to complete the full training and exams. Returning agents and brokers still have the option to take the more comprehensive training even if you are eligible to take the refresher training. There is no refresher training for the SHOP Marketplace curriculum and only agreements are required in the SHOP Marketplace.
New agents and brokers who complete the full plan year 2017 FFM registration and training requirements will be eligible to take the streamlined refresher training for returning agents and brokers in the next year.
No Confirmation Codes Needed for CMS-approved Vendor Training
In contrast to last year, agents and brokers who opt to take FFM training via CMS-approved vendors do not need to enter a code in the MLMS to verify that they have completed vendor training. Once training is completed via your preferred CMS-approved vendor, you will be directed to log back in to the CMS Enterprise Portal to complete registration and will receive a confirmation email from the vendor confirming completion of the training and how to continue with FFM registration on the MLMS.
Enrollment in Curricula
Agents and brokers will no longer be able to enroll by course, rather, you will enroll in curricula to avoid potential confusion about which courses to enroll in.
New Agents and Brokers Must Complete Identity Proofing to Access Training
Unlike in prior years, where agents and brokers could complete identity proofing before or after completing FFM training, for plan year 2017, identity proofing must be completed before an agent or broker is able to access the training.
Changes to the Plan Year 2017 Registration Completion Certificates
Registration Completion Certificates will now include the date when the agent or broker completes the plan year 2017 FFM registration requirement. As a reminder, you can no longer view or print your 2016 FFM Registration Completion Certificates as of July 15.
Did You Know?
There are a number of Help Desks to assist you if you have questions about registration, training, or other topics.
- Agent and Broker Call Center: Contact the Agent and Broker Call Center by calling 1-855-CMS-1515 (855-267-1515) and selecting option “1.” This Call Center is available Monday through Saturday, 8:00 AM – 10:00 PM ET. The Agent and Broker Call Center does not have access to consumer information and is not able to handle specific questions or issues with a consumer’s application. Please continue to call the Marketplace Call Center at 1-800-318-2596 for assistance related to enrolling consumers in coverage through the Individual Marketplaces.
- 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 FFMs (including general registration and training questions not related to a specific training platform, even if they are SHOP Marketplace-related), identity proofing/Experian issues requiring manual verifications, policy questions, questions pertaining to the FFM agents and brokers program, or to subscribe to this newsletter.
- Marketplace Call Center: For questions/comments about 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; or 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 or coverage through the SHOP Marketplace, 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 FFMs, contact Webbroker@cms.hhs.gov.
- AHIP: If you require assistance with AHIP’s training option, 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.
- 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 email@example.com.
Follow Us on Twitter
You can find important information and updates by following the CMS and HealthCare.gov Twitter handles (@CMSGov and @HealthCareGov) or by searching for the hashtags #ABFFM or #ABFFSHOP on Twitter.