Having problems finding someone to help you with you Covered California enrollment? You’re not alone. The second week into open enrollment shows that Covered California is struggling to get bodies trained and certified to help enroll Californians in the new health plans. After hoping to have an army of In-Person Assisters to help Californians, there were less than 300 Certified Enrollment Counselors (CEC) according to figures released by Covered California.
On a recent webinar, Chris Patton, Vice President of SHOP Sales and Agent Management for Covered California, reported that over 15,000 insurance agents have registered to become certified to sell both individual and small group health plans through the California health insurance exchange. Of those thousands of agents, less than 1700 had completed the necessary training for certification only days before the start of open enrollment. In addition, no agents will actually be certified as of the launch on October 1st because agent agreement has not been released.
As Covered California ramps up for open enrollment for their “premium assistance” eligible health insurance plans starting in October, Julie Wiegand of Covered California declared they need “boots on the ground” in the form of Certified Enrollment Counselors. Formerly known as Assisters, Certified Enrollment Counselors (CEC) are expected to play a significant part with enrollment in many different communities.
Staff did respond to an excellent suggestion regarding insurance agents not be able to pay Assisters or provide ‘in-kind support” such as free copies, co-branded material, travel expenses or reduced rent. Covered California staff agreed to the prohibitions that would allow agents or general agencies from essentially co-opting In-Person Assisters or Entities into pipeline of referrals.