Indi­vid­ual health insur­ance cov­er­age is now read­i­ly avail­able, on a guar­an­teed basis and with­out any penal­ties for cov­er­ing pre-exist­ing med­ical con­di­tions.  That makes things eas­i­er, along with the fact that the avail­able plan designs fall into neat­ly con­fig­ured cat­e­gories.  So who needs agents?  The car­ri­ers have cut com­mis­sions, and now many are not pay­ing com­mis­sions at all.  The assump­tion, of course, is that agents in the indi­vid­ual mar­ket are not required – peo­ple can make deci­sions on their own with what is made avail­able on line.  Funny…the time we spend in coun­sel­ing cur­rent and poten­tial clients about their indi­vid­ual options and some of the nuances of cov­er­age and provider net­works seems to take us just as much time as before, with fol­low-up ser­vice calls and needs, keep­ing clients cur­rent, argu­ing with car­ri­ers and providers.  So real­ly, there is no val­ue here?  And still, over 50% of those who enroll through the Exchanges are enrolled through agents…guess they don’t know any better…