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Recommended Consumer Protections for Web-based Agents and Brokers offering Exchange Coverage

Many states and the Federal government contemplate allowing web-based agents and brokers (hereinafter “web-based brokers”) to list and sell exchange-offered health plans. Federal exchange rules require that such web-based brokers enter into an agreement with the Exchange. Per Federal rules, the internet website of an agent or broker must meet certain standards for display. However, these rules are general and provide leeway for manipulative displays by web-based brokers that might steer consumers towards high-commission plans, emphasize ancillary products over exchange products, or function as vehicles to collect information about consumers for resale or downstream marketing.