“Applying for health care benefits may seem daunting” (Associated Press, March 13) reported on the challenges consumers will likely face when buying insurance coverage in the new exchanges created by the federal health care law. In order to alleviate confusion, state and federal officials must ensure that consumers have access to the expert counsel of licensed, professional agents through the exchanges. Consumers already rely heavily on agents to help them secure coverage that suits their needs and budget. A recent Kaiser Family Foundation survey found that 92 percent of agents spend some or most of their time explaining benefits to consumers. Three-quarters devote time to investigating coverage options for their clients. And nearly three-quarters of agents regularly field questions about the health care law.
Janet Trautwein, Washington, D.C.
Trautwein is executive vice president and CEO of the National Association of Health Underwriters.