We know the Federal Insurance Marketplace, also known as the health insurance exchange, is where individuals and families can buy private health insurance plans with government subsidies. ACA or Obamacare health insurance plans are subsidized based on household income and other eligibilities to help lower the cost of coverage and healthcare expenses. But for Agents like us, we must get our State licenses certified every year in order to sell ACA insurance from the Marketplace. Since OEP 2024 is around the corner, we have prepared an essential Marketplace Certification Checklist so that you will be all prepared to serve your customers enroll for the coming program year.


Agent’s Marketplace Certification Checklist

  1. Register for FFM Certification at the CMS Website
  2. Take the Training and Pass the Examination
  3. Sign the Agreements and Get the Certificate
  4. Check the License Validity
  5. Resolve Validity Issues If any
  6. Start ACA Selling


  1. Agents Need FFM Certification to Sell ACA Insurance

For an agent, selling ACA Marketplace plans requires one to take the Federally Facilitated Marketplace (FFM) Certification for every program year. Agents need to know that there are no fees involved in taking the certification. The whole process is managed by CMS through its Marketplace Learning Management System (MLMS).


1a. Applying FFM Certification for a New Agent

If you are a new agent who has stepped into the ACA Health Insurance business for the first time, you can start by visiting the CMS Enterprise Portal. You can find the FFM Training Access (‘Marketplace Training- Agent Broker’ Tile) and apply for it from the website. You will be asked to verify your identity while you apply. Once you get access, you have to complete the MLMS Training.

1b. FFM Certification for Returning Agents

Returning agents have a more condensed training course. It will only take about 10 to 15 minutes to complete the MLMS training if you are returning agent. You just need to update your MLMS profile from your CMS Enterprise portal account and take the training.

1c. Taking the CMS Training and Examination 

MLMS Training gives you an understanding of all the basics, from ACA essentials to knowing who’s eligible for Qualified Health Plans (QHP). Once you have completed your training sessions, you must take exams to get the FFM Certification. Agents have to score 70% or higher to earn the certificate and qualify for selling ACA Insurance via the Federal Marketplace.

1d. Getting FFM Certified 

After completing your examinations, you will be asked to sign applicable agreements to receive your completion certificate. Confirm your registration status and print your certificate.

  1. Does FFM Certification Apply to All States?

Now, if you ask, is it enough to get a single FFM certification to sell Insurance anywhere? We would say it depends on your state, or where you want to sell your insurance. First, you have to confirm if your state participates with the Marketplace, or Federally Facilitated Marketplace (FFM). There are a lot of states using the Federal Marketplace to run and operate their insurance system. If your State is among them, you only need to obtain a common certification for all the FFM states. But if you are working in a state that runs its state-based marketplace, you have to take the training program and the certification for that specific state. You can visit https://portal.cms.gov/ to learn more about your certification details.


  1. How to Check your State License Validity?

How can you confirm you have completed Marketplace registration for the current plan year?  After receiving your certificate for the program year, the most unavoidable step is to check whether it is validated or not. CMS will add the names of the certified agents to a register for credibility. If you look up the registry it should say ‘confirmed’ beside your name.

After completing your FFM Training and Examination, there are two ways you can confirm your FFM certification status.

  1. Check Your NPN on the CMS Agent and Broker FFM Registration Completion List (RCL)
  2. Use the Marketplace Registration Tracker



3a. Checking your License Validity Through RCL

The first step is to check if your National Producer Number (NPN) is listed on the Registry, officially known as the Agent and Broker Federally Facilitated Marketplace (FFM) Registration Completion List (RCL). If you see your NPN listed there, it’s a solid indicator that your registration for the current plan year is confirmed.


3b. Using Marketplace Registration Tracker

There is also an online tool called the Marketplace Registration Tracker. You can visit the website and type in your NPN and Zip code to view your status. This handy tool will show your training and registration status, plus the validation of your identity and NPN.

Keep in mind, CMS will take one to two business days for your information to appear on RCL after you complete your certification program.


  1. Common License Validation Issues

What if your National Producer Number (NPN) is not showing up as validated on the Agent and Broker Registration Completion List? The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Agent and Broker Federally Facilitated Marketplace (FFM) Registration Completion List (RCL) is where you can find the National Producer Numbers (NPNs) of agents and brokers who’ve completed their Marketplace registration and training for the current plan year.

The RCL has a column called NPN Validation, which tells you if your NPN has been validated by checking it against the National Insurance Producer Registry (NIPR) database. To get a “Yes” in this column for the current year, your NPN needs to be valid, have an active licensure status, and have a healthcare-related line of authority (LOA) in at least one FFM state.


  1. How to Solve Your State License Validation Issues?

What might be the reasons your NPN not be listed as validated? As per CMS, there are some possible reasons why your NPN is not showing ‘validated’ for business.

Incorrect Information: If you accidentally entered the wrong license number or NPN. Typo could be the reason. Double-check and update your agent/broker profile if there is a mistake.

License Issues: If your license is inactive or expired, or your healthcare-related Line of Authority (LOA) isn’t valid according to the NIPR, then you might not get the ‘Yes.’ You can verify your NPN via the NIPR database and contact them for inquiries.

Mismatched LOA: If the LOA linked to your NPN doesn’t match the approved healthcare related LOAs, you might see a “No.” Make sure your LOA is in line with the approved list.

Having a valid health-related Line of Authority (LOA) in your resident state is crucial. Agents without an approved LOA (State Licensure) might not get access to Marketplace systems or assist consumers with enrollment. So, confirm your FFM certification status and ensure you’re all set to serve your clients effectively!