It has been about a month since we wrote about our experience “in the trenches” as we help our clients manage the transition to the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
Many of you are wondering how things are going.
Record High Volume at Virginia Medical Plans
We, like most brokers across the country, continue to experience a record high volume of calls and emails. As you can imagine, we are doing our best to respond to each and every inquiry. We sincerely thank you for your patience; please be assured we are meticulously tracking every call and email and we WILL get back to you.
Applications Filed Through Federal Health Insurance Exchange
We definitely have been feeling the impact of healthcare.gov’s troubles, and therefore have shifted away from the site in favor of assisting our subsidy-eligible clients file paper or phone applications. While some applicants heard back from the marketplace within minutes, many have still yet to receive any information back on status of their applications. A few who have heard back from the marketplace have been disappointed with the news.
In response to the difficulties with enrolling in the federal marketplace, Janet Trautwein, CEO of the National Association of Health Underwriters (NAHU), sent a letter to President Obama last week, asking for his administration’s support in making it easier for brokers to assist their clients. (Click here to read the letter, and note that we added the highlights for emphasis). We are grateful for NAHU’s support and hopeful that their input will help make a difference in our ability to get people enrolled.
If you started an application online at healthcare.gov in October or November, but were unable to complete it due to system errors, one thing we have heard is a suggestion to delete any “old” applications and start a new one. While we cannot tell you for sure if this will work, it may be worth a try. If you do have success that way, please let us know!
When using healthcare.gov, please remember to provide our broker information on your application. As noted in Ms. Trautwein’s letter, including our information will ensure you receive not only our assistance to complete the buying process, but also our customer service throughout the plan year. Here is our info:
- Name – Jonathan Katz
- FFM User ID: JONKATZAGENT
- National Producer Number (NPN) – 1585616
834 Errors in the Exchange
In the days since December 1, healthcare.gov seems to be functioning better than it had been — at least from a user input standpoint. The concern now has shifted to back-end problems with the “834’s” — the forms containing applicants’ information that must be transmitted to the insurance carriers to actually process the policies. Reports of garbled data, duplicate files, and missing information are troublesome, to say the least.
If you submitted an application through the exchange — whether on paper, by phone, or online at healthcare.gov — you must contact your carrier to confirm your coverage. We cannot stress this enough. And rest assured, if you have not yet made a payment, you do not have coverage!
Individual and Small Group Off-Exchange Plans
Individuals and small business owners buying off-exchange plans are having an easier time enrolling in 2014 health insurance.
After working 20+ years in the individual and small group health insurance industry we know that when you get new health insurance, you can expect to receive your policy documents (including insurance cards and proof of coverage) about three weeks prior to the start date of coverage. So, if you purchased an off-exchange plan with an effective date of January 1, 2014 and have not yet received any paperwork from your carrier, be on the lookout over the next several days.
If you have not received documents by the middle of December, it is time to contact your carrier!
Note, CareFirst seems to be in good shape and has already begun sending documentation out to its policyholders.
There is Still Time to Purchase Health Insurance by January 1
You have until December 23 to enroll in coverage with a January 1, 2014 start date. But don’t delay. Give us a call if you still need health insurance for you, your family, or your small business.
Please be patient as we manage a high volume of calls and emails.