NAR has released a straightforward explanation of the recently-signed healthcare reform law for agents and brokers.

Some of the highlights:

Expanded Markets
Third, the law seeks to expand the individual and small-business insurance markets, which are the markets through which real estate brokers and sales associates principally shop for coverage.

The goal is to increase access to affordable coverage by increasing competition among insurers by expanding the pools of insureds, encouraging them to enter new markets, and by allowing the markets to cross state lines. The eventual goal is to merge the individual and small group markets into one larger market. In any case, as an independent contractor, you’ll be able to shop for coverage in both the individual and the small-business markets, so your options are expanded.

Exchanges
Fourth, the law creates the insurance exchanges that received so much attention in the media. These are in effect the new insurance marketplaces through which individuals and small employers shop for coverage. Because insurance ratings and underwriting standards are made more uniform, shopping for coverage through the exchange’s online services or through an insurance broker is simplified, at least in theory, because comparison between plans is made easier.