Health insurance is a life necessity.
Connecticut’s Affordable Care Act insurance marketplace, Access Health CT, is working to reduce health disparities and the number of uninsured in the state’s most underserved communities by diversifying the brokers who help people access health coverage.
They launched a Broker Academy program, now in its second year, to remove the barriers to entry for becoming a licensed broker by creating a direct training program that’s free of charge. Participants are taught the rules and regulations of the insurance industry and the program also covers the cost for the state licensing exam.
CEO James Michel says the program was an important addition to their work to get people covered because in some communities, people benefit from a trusted messenger to help overcome hurdles to coverage.
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“Health insurance is a very personal choice you're making. So when your broker is asking you to help you pick the right plan for you and your family, they have to ask you a whole bunch of personal questions. A lot of people from the urban communities, black and brown folks, they become very uncomfortable with somebody that does not understand them. And then they may not purchase a plan,” said Michel.
In its first year, the program graduated 29 licensed brokers, many of whom are women of color.
The program is expected to run a new cohort annually. The latest application period ended April 30, Access Health CT hopes to graduate as many as 70 new brokers from the second cohort.