PPACA (Obamacare) has been impacting how we purchase and design health insurance coverage since 2010. PPACA is in its 5th year and approaching maturity. New provisions of the act are introduced yearly and many of these provisions have been modified or delayed until future dates.

It is arguably the most comprehensive makeover of the heath insurance delivery system ever. The nuances of implementation and compliance are at best murky and difficult to understand.

The National Association of Health Underwriters introduced a certification program a couple years ago called the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act Certification Program. It was designed to guide insurance professionals through the complex act and make them familiar with the options available to their clients.

I knew at that time if I were going to be engaged with clients regarding their healthcare needs, I would have to invest some time and money in this certification. It is not enough to read articles in journals and attend a couple carrier meetings if you are going to provide true value to your client.

I completed the program in early 2013 and found it to be well designed and presented. I felt confident to discuss options with employers and more importantly was able to identify all the misinformation that is rampant in the sales marketing process from uninformed agents that aren’t employee benefit specialists.

Now back to my recent discovery. Last week a client asked my how many agents in the state of West Virginia were certified by National Association of Health Underwriters as a PPACA professional.

I told him that I really didn’t know but I suspected that most benefits professionals were either certified or working on it.

Today during coffee I decided to visit the NAHU website and research the question myself. To my amazement it appears that only 4 people within 100 miles of Charleston are certified.

I can name without hesitation over 30 agents actively marketing, selling and servicing health insurance in this state as a primary product. It is their life blood accounting for a majority of their insurance income.

Yes I’ve heard people say it doesn’t matter, it will be repealed. Yes there have been implementation delays that reduces the sense or urgency. Yes I understand that most agents still know more than their clients about the act.

But still, most people wouldn’t even let a mechanic work on their car unless he was certified to do so.

So yes, I am amazed and for now will continue to disbelieve.