It’s time to put a feather in your cap, brokers and agents. An independent study out of the University of Minnesota finds that areas of the U.S. where broker competition is highest are associated with lower health premiums and higher levels of health coverage.

"We hear that small businesses use brokers not just to find health insurance but also as an HR extension," says author Pinar Karaca-Mandic of University of Minnesota's Division of Health Policy and Management. "We think at least in the short run, for brokers’ services, the exchanges won’t eliminate these transaction costs for brokers."

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