This is where the consumer purchases the health plan directly from the insurance carrier’s website or broker portal. It is always a good idea to utilize the professional advice of a licensed broker as this is an easy insurance product to get wrong. Brokers serve as a valuable resource that can help a consumer navigate and understand doctors and hospital networks and the definitions and mechanics of your policy. Since health insurance prices are fixed by law it only makes sense to get free advice on such a complicated product. If someday insurance companies stop paying commissions then we may see a broker consulting fee come into play.
The nice thing about buying “off exchange” is that the consumer maintains a direct connection and ability to work directly with the insurance company on things like billing and claims. There is no “Obamacare representative” that you must deal on behalf of the insurance company. The other nice aspect is that there is no burden of proof on the consumer for things like proof of income or wages. The only negative is the fact that those who qualify for a financial subsidy will not be able to receive the government assistance unless they purchase their plan via the “Obamacare” website, HealthCare.gov.