The Washington Times - November 25, 2013, 12:30PM

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen said Monday that insurance agents and brokers are being marginalized at a time when they could play a key role in signing up Americans under Obamacare.

The New Hampshire Democrat is among several lawmakers in President Obama’s own party who are calling for tweaks that make the flawed rollout of the Affordable Care Act more consumer-friendly.

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She wrote to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on Monday to push for a nexus between the federal Obamacare portal, HealthCare.gov, and agents and brokers, such as the publication of contact information for the insurance professionals.

In her letter, she said agents and brokers could help her constituents wade through the application for coverage on the new health exchanges.

“Given the setbacks to HealthCare.gov, consumers in New Hampshire and across the country are confused and uncertain about their options,” Mrs. Shaheen wrote. “For some, this may be the first opportunity they have ever had to acquire health insurance, and for others the marketplace represents a new way of selecting and purchasing their plans.”

“Unfortunately, insurance agents and brokers are experiencing barriers that prohibit them from successfully helping consumers sign up for health insurance online, by mail or through call centers,” she added. “Making meaningful progress in addressing their concerns is critically important to ensuring robust enrollment in HealthCare.gov, and I encourage the Administration to address the issues facing agents and brokers.”