Key Insights + Critical Next Steps for Agents
After you’re FFM-certified, make sure your ACA carrier appointments are up-to-date and you’re ready to quote and enroll on INSXCloud, IBG’s multi-carrier broker tool for both ACA and ancillary products.
Access the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) links and documentation you need below to complete training and certification to sell ACA plans on the federally facilitated marketplace (FFM):
Here are a few helpful points to have in mind before you get started:
You should only have one CMS user account. It is your single point of entry to the CMS applications, systems, and databases that are used for the FFM, including the Marketplace Learning Management System (MLMS), the application you’ll use to access the FFM training and certification process.
If you previously created a CMS user account but did not complete the FFM registration, you should use your existing account and not create a new one. To find out if you already have a CMS user account, see CMS’s Quick Reference Guide.
Training is only required for participation in the Individual Marketplace. Agents and brokers who participate in the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) are encouraged, but not required, to complete SHOP training. You will still need to complete registration and sign the SHOP agreement even if you opt out of the training.
Accessing vendor partner training – If you’ve chosen to complete training through the HHS-approved vendor partner, you must access that training through your CMS Enterprise Portal, not directly through the vendor’s website. CMS recommends completing the approved vendor training prior to completing your MLMS profile.
After completing the training modules, remember to complete the registration process. You will not be able to enroll customers in Marketplace plans or be compensated until you complete all registration steps in the MLMS, including reading and accepting applicable Marketplace agreements and confirming completion of all registration steps.
Resource: CMS’s plan year 2021 registration and training page.
For Newly Certifying Agents and Brokers
For 2021 new agent certification, there are 10 core training modules and three exams: Basics exam, Individual Marketplace exam, and Privacy and Security Standards exams. You must obtain a score of 70% or higher to pass each exam. (Exams may be retaken.)
If you haven’t previously been certified to sell ACA plans on the federally facilitated marketplace (FFM), or your certification has lapsed, use the CMS resources below to complete the “new agent” process.
Plan Year 2021 New Agent and Broker Quick Start Guide [PDF]
Plan Year 2021 Registration and Training for New Agents and Brokers (PDF Step-by-Step Guide)
CMS Enterprise Portal Login +
New User Registration
For Returning Agents and Brokers
Returning agents are eligible to take condensed training to renew their certification, including just two training modules and one exam (requiring a 70% or greater score to pass). The required portion takes about an hour to complete.
Use the CMS resources below to complete the “returning agent” process.
Plan year 2021 Returning Agent and Broker Quick Start Guide [PDF]
Plan Year 2021 Registration and Training for Returning Agents and Brokers (PDF Step-by-Step Guide)
CMS Enterprise Portal Login
Once you’re certified to enroll customers in ACA plans on the FFM, gain access to INSXCloud, the best-in-class multi-carrier quoting and enrollment tool.
Seamlessly transition customers from short-term medical to ACA coverage with the INSXCloud and IBG’s Producer Marketplace.
Quickly identify if a customer qualifies for subsidies with INSXCloud’s affordability and subsidy calculator tools.
Quote the subsidy-adjusted premium, and move seamlessly into the federally facilitated marketplace (FFM) application process, all within the Cloud’s simple user interface.
Manage all of your business on one platform. Quote and compare plans, directly enroll, and track applications on the FFM and more all year round.
You’re just 20 minutes and $0 away from enrolling your first ACA customer on INSXCloud
Ready to get the INSXCloud Multi-Carrier Quoting and Enrollment Agent Tool?
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Get Appointed with Your State(s) Carrier(s)
Make sure your information is up-to-date with ACA carrier(s) in your state(s), and get appointed with any newly added carriers for 2021.
It’s generally not difficult to get appointed – it takes about 15 minutes to complete the appointment application and process for each carrier.
Your IBG representative can help you identify which carriers are available in the states where you’re licensed, walk you through their onboarding requirements and provide insights on what’s working well for other agents.
Work with Independence Brokerage Group
One thing that can help make all of these steps easier is having your own personal IBG representative helping you through the process.
Have an ACA, INSXCloud, or carrier question? Stuck on what to do next? Just contact your IBG representative and they’ll be able to help.
If you’re not already contracted with us, don’t wait. Enjoy your independence as an agent, but access the tools and technology, training, support, and backing of a large, established agency.
Why choose Stephens-Matthews?
Points toward Stephens-Matthews Sales Conference
MGA and GA contracts are available
Fantastic agent service and sales training
Access to Health Sherpa
Refer ACA clients for CA$H!
If you opt-in to the HealthSherpa referral program, they'll pay you for applications that are from a carrier you aren't appointed with.
HealthSherpa is an ACA-only business, so rest assured that you can sell any other products to the clients you refer to them.
Click here to learn more
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Protect your clients from out-of-pocket exposure with supplemental plans. Adding supplemental plans to any major medical coverage helps offset the financial impact of accidents, illness, and more by paying cash benefits directly to clients for covered events.
2022 Assister Certification Training Modules Now Available!
We are pleased to invite assisters to take the 2022 Assister Certification Training beginning September 1,2021.
In preparation for the Marketplace Open Enrollment Period starting November 1, 2021 for the 2022 Plan Year, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has updated the Assister Certification Training curriculum.
The training is hosted on the Marketplace Learning Management System (MLMS); the online web-based training platform for assisters providing application and enrollment assistance to consumers in Federally-Facilitated Marketplaces (FFMs) and State-based Marketplaces using the Federal platform. The MLMS can be accessed through the CMS Enterprise Portal.
Required ID Validation for MLMS Access
All new and returning Assisters (Certified Application Counselors, Navigators, and State Based Exchange-Federal Platform Assisters) will need to verify their identity on the CMS Portal to access Assister Certification training on the MLMS. Previously, a user would request access to the MLMS and add a role without going through the Identity Verification process. The Quick Reference Guide: FFM Registration with ID Verification for Assisters provides an overview of how to re-register as a returning Assister, or register as a new Assister, using the Identity Verification process. To Access the guide, click here: ID Verification process.
Use of Navigator ID
When registering for the 2022 Navigator training on the MLMS training platform, all individual Navigators should ensure that they register for and complete the 2022 Navigator certification or recertification training using the unique Navigator ID number assigned to them by the CMS Navigator grantee organization with which they are affiliated. Navigators should use the unique Navigator ID number assigned to them to ensure that the Navigator certificate issued to them reflects their current ID number and their current affiliation with a CMS Navigator grantee organization.
Use of CAC ID Number
Prior to registering for the 2022 Assister Certification Training, returning Certification Application Counselors (CACs) should ensure they are using a current CAC ID number (issued to them by their Certified Application Counselor Designated Organization (CDO) for plan year 2019 or later). CACs should not register for the 2022 CAC training until they have confirmed with their organization that they are using a current CAC ID.
New organizations that apply to become CDOs during CMS’s 2021 Open Season and are approved to operate as CDOs during plan year 2022 should instruct their CACs to wait to take the 2022 CAC training until after they have been issued a CAC ID number by their organization.
When registering for the 2022 CAC training, all CACs should enter their CAC ID number in the CAC ID field on the “Welcome to the MLMS” profile page. This will ensure that each CAC’s enrollments on HealthCare.gov are linked to the correct CDO organization.
For the first time, returning FFM CACs are now eligible to complete the abbreviated 2022 recertification training (same one as Navigators) if all of the following criteria are met: 1) They successfully completed the 2021 FFM training in the MLMS; 2) They were certified as a CAC by their CDO for the 2021 plan year (active certification status documented on the CDO’s roster of CACs), received a certificate from their CDO, and remained certified in 2021; and 3) They remained with the same CDO with which they were certified for plan year 2021.
You can find training presentations and additional resources, such as Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), and MLMS Quick Reference Guides at the following link: Assister Training Materials.
For additional assistance with questions on the MLMS assister training, please submit inquiries to [email protected] Monday−Friday 9:00 AM−5:30 PM Eastern Time or contact the Marketplace Service Desk at 1-855-267-1515 or 1-855-CMS-1515 Monday−Friday from 8:00 AM-8:00 PM Eastern Time.
For assistance with Navigator program questions, please submit inquiries to your CMS project officer.
CACs with general questions about assister certification training should contact [email protected].
Getting FFM Certified
Agents and brokers who wish to assist consumers in the Health Insurance Marketplace on Healthcare.gov must complete registration and required training on an annual basis prior to assisting consumers enroll in a plan. This certification status is tied to your National Producer Number (NPN) and must be completed before you can process applications through HealthSherpa.
New Agents and Brokers
Agents and brokers who are new to the Marketplace this year, or who did not complete plan year 2019 registration and training, are required to take the full Individual Marketplace training for plan year 2020.
Check out this quick guide for new agents and brokers to help you through the registration and training steps.
*Note: After selecting “New User Registration” choose MLMS: Marketplace Learning Management System as your application type
Returning Agents and Brokers
Agents and brokers who completed plan year 2019 Individual Marketplace registration and training are eligible to take a streamlined Refresher Training for plan year 2020, which takes about half the time to complete.
Returning agents and brokers can take the Refresher Training either through the MLMS or a CMS-approved vendor regardless of how they completed the plan year 2019 training.
Check out this quick guide for returning agents and brokers to help you through the registration and training steps.
Ffm certification 2021
The Federally Facilitated Marketplace (FFM) training is now available for returning agents and brokers!
After completing the required FFM training, you can use PinPoint to track FFM completion and complete required product training. Also, you can renew your Arkansas Exchange Producer License.
Please see our previous blog article here on how to access PinPoint and register for an individual product Zoom training. We encourage you to attend one of our Zoom meetings, where we will take a deeper dive into our training material.
How to access FFM Training
We will check the FFM completion list daily and update this course as complete (beginning September 7, 2021) for any agent who is on this list and registered with PinPoint.
Accessing online training: To access the training module, visit the CMS portal. If you have trouble logging in or have been locked out, you can call the CMS support desk at 855-267-1515, and they will reset/unlock your account. Many of you will need to do this, as passwords must be changed every 60 days. Arkansas Blue Cross is unable to help resolve these issues. Once you’ve accessed the CMS portal, choose one of two training vendors. The Marketplace Learning Management System (MLMS) is free. No continuing education units are offered with this vendor, but it will satisfy your Arkansas Blue Cross certification requirements.
Select Marketplace Training – Agent Broker
Select MLMS Training to access the Marketplace Learning Management System (MLMS).
FFM training: You will not satisfy this requirement and cannot market or sell 2022 products until your National Producer Number (NPN) is on the FFM Completion List for 2022. Arkansas Blue Cross will check this list every business day, but it may take one to three business days to see your completion status reflected on your PinPoint dashboard. Your NPN must be on the list before you can be renewed for 2022. The process for checking whether the FFM shows you as complete is detailed below.
Exchange Producer License
You must complete the FFM training before renewing your Exchange Producer License, and we recommend you wait one business day after completing the FFM certification. The Arkansas Insurance Department cannot process your renewal application until they confirm you have completed your 2022 FFM training. They check the same list that we do to confirm you have completed your FFM training.
All Arkansas Exchange Producer licenses are set to expire at the end of September, so it is imperative that you are proactive in renewing this license. Arkansas Blue Cross will not be able to renew your individual U-65 appointment unless this is renewed. Detailed instructions on how to renew your 2022 exchange producer license are outlined in the next section.
Detailed Exchange Producer License Renewal
Start at the National Insurance Producer Registry (NIPR) site.
- Select Renew and then Resident Licensing Renewals.
2. Select Arkansas
3. Choose the green Renew Here button
4. Enter your last name and NPN and then select Next after accepting the NIPR Use Agreement.
5. Select Start
6. Select what you want to do (as shown below) and select Next.
7. Select Arkansas and select Next.
8. Select Exchange Health and then select Next.
If you have trouble, call NIPR Support at 855-674-6477. Arkansas Blue Cross support staff are unable to help.
9. Review the fee estimate.
10. Begin your application by clicking on Biographic Data, and the system will take you through all the sections listed below.
Once finished, it will look like this:
Your renewal application will begin processing. For most, the only verification to be done by the Arkansas Insurance Department is confirmation that you have completed the FFM training for 2022. They will check the same FFM completion list illustrated above.
After your Exchange License is renewed by the Arkansas Insurance Department, it will be reflected on the National Insurance Producer Registry (NIPR) Producer Database (PDB). PinPoint will check for completions on a nightly basis, so within one or two business days of approval, this will be marked as complete within your PinPoint portal.
Thank you for all you do for Blue!
The pandemic changed everything. But one thing isn’t going to change: Your clients will continue to count on your expertise to help them understand the Federally-facilitated Marketplace (FFM), explore their options, and get enrolled. Make sure you’re fully prepared to meet their needs by enrolling in AHIP’s CMS-approved FFM courses. With content created by our industry’s most trusted authorities, the insurance experts at AHIP, you’ll get the training you need and more.
Choose the Online Course that Fits Your Needs
- Individual Marketplace Training Required by CMS if you want to sell products through the Marketplace. The course covers key aspects of the Federal Marketplace, including operations and structure, CMS guidelines, marketing, the enrollment process, and more.
- Individual Marketplace Training for Returning Agents and Brokers If you passed your required Individual Marketplace Training for plan year 2020 and wish to update your training to sell through the Marketplace for plan year 2021, this quick option may be the right choice for you.*
Ready to get started? Click here to register today!
Discover the AHIP Advantage
When you choose AHIP for your Federal Marketplace Training, the benefits extend beyond meeting your CMS training requirements:
- AHIP training exceeds CMS standards: You’ll gain additional information to better-serve your clients and grow your business.
- The opportunity to earn Continuing Education (CE) credits. (CE credits are available in most states for a small additional fee. Details are available here. To see if CE credits are available in your state, clickhere.)
- AHIP’s flexible approach to online learning fits your work life and learning style. Learn, achieve, and succeed at your own pace.
- A fully supported, dedicated training website. AHIP courses run on their own platform, for fast, seamless learning.
- 24/7 technical support by phone or email.
- $55 for Individual Marketplace Training
- $20 for Individual Marketplace Training for Returning Agents and Brokers
- CE credits (where available) vary by state and training option. Details here.
Ready to get started? Click here to register today!
- Agents and brokers must complete their FFM registration annually.
- To sell products through the Marketplace, agents and brokers must complete all steps within the annual FFM registration process. This includes enrolling through the CMS portal, completing training, and signing the required Agreements(s) with CMS.
- AHIP has been approved by CMS to develop and host FFM Training for FFM agents and brokers for plan year 2021.
- Plan year 2021 Open Enrollment begins 11/1/20 and ends 12/15/20.
- For information on the requirements and process for completing FFM agent and broker registration and training for plan year 2021, visit https://www.cms.gov/cciio/programs-and-initiatives/health-insurance-marketplaces/a-b-resources.
- For questions regarding AHIP’s Federal Marketplace Training, email [email protected].
Continuing Education Credit - Eligible States
States with CE approval for plan year 2021 Federally- facilitated Individual Marketplace Training (Approx. 13 credits. Exact number varies by state.)
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