Case in point is this agent's recent experience with one of his long-time clients. He's given me permission to share it with our readers:
'I'm kind of bummed right now. Had a meeting with a client tonight who told me in no uncertain terms that he's upset because he's looking at a substantial Obamacare tax penalty because he followed my advice. He's right to be upset, but what I told him was true at the time, or at least it wasn't codified differently. DC has changed the laws and regulations so many times, and to this day if you go to the IRS website it says that buying a health insurance plan directly from an insurance company will meet minimum essential benefits requirement. It won't, but that's on CMS.
And he doesn't want to take advantage of the easy hardship exemption that anyone can get (*bitter laugh* Maybe I should start spamming the web with banner ads "This one weird trick can allow you to avoid the Obamacare tax!"). That would allow him to at least soften the tax blow.
I do take a great deal of pride in my professional acumen. All due humility aside, when it comes to ObamCare I am the pro from Dover. I looked him right in the eye and apologized; told him I had made a professional mistake. I still feel like crap, though.'
As I pointed out the other day, we do the very best we can, given the dearth of clear and consistent information from our Betters in Washington©. In that circumstance, I would also most likely have apologized, even though this mess isn't my fault. As professionals, we take our responsibility seriously, even if the denizens of DC don't.
There's a ripple effect, as well: I see fewer and fewer agents willing to undertake the extensive training and logistics required to sell on-Exchange. On the one hand, good for me: I'm getting a pretty decent amount of referral business. On the other hand, anything that discourages competition - even my own - only makes things worse.
Thanks to Dave W for sharing his experience.