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Covered California has estimated that nearly 100,000 households have started an application but have not selected a health plan. To help “Jump Start” these stalled applications Covered California will be distributing the contact information of these stalled applications to Certified Agents to call the applicants and offer assistance to help them make a health plan selection for an effective date of January 1, 2014.
Thousands of health insurance agents across California have done what Covered California has asked us to do to become certified to sell their new health plans. Unfortunately, Covered California has not held up their end of the agreement by creating an agent system within the CalHEERS website that allows us to monitor the progress of an application or to know if we will ever get paid. I am now leaning toward taking my client business right to the carriers and boycotting Covered California altogether.
From the sloppy training, poorly designed and broken website, lack of real information about plans to the patronizing pep talk tone of the webinars, I’m just about done with Covered California. If I didn’t feel so strongly about health care reform and the importance of the Affordable Care Act I would have cut my ties with Covered California long ago and just concentrated on keeping my current clients with their current carriers.
Agents that are certified to sell Covered California health insurance sign an agreement which in part states that the agent will fairly represent all the different plans. I have faith that all the agents will accurately represent all the plans, but they are under various incentives and realities that may distort some agent’s presentations to clients.
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.
If an agent is strongly opposed to Obamacare they should seriously consider not even selling ACA compliant health plans. Clients are better served by those who believe in the product than those who are selling just for the money.
The National Association of Health Underwriters (NAHU) have signed on to lend their support of a website that seeks to sabotage the Affordable Care Act. The website, The Affordable Coverage Project, is calling for the repeal of the health insurance taxes that made Obamacare originally revenue neutral and finances the tax credits that will make health insurance affordable for millions of Americans.
Set to release in early September, the Covered California mobile app will not have the ability to enroll individuals or families in a health plan. It is simply a tool for determining eligibility for the premium subsidy and comparing plans offered in the zip code entered.
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) will be driving millions of people to either get health insurance or look at switching plans. The net result is a huge new marketing opportunity for insurance agents to sell not only health insurance, but far more lucrative insurance for life, disability, long term care, indemnity, auto and home or financial services. However, insurance agents should be prohibited from cross selling any non-health related insurance products during the initial meeting with prospects for the new ACA health plans.
Many insurance agents who sell health plans and have vehemently opposed the Affordable Care Act have gone through the classic stages of grief over its passage: denial, anger, depression, bargaining and finally, acceptance. While some in the industry still hold out hope that the fortieth plus attempt to repeal the ACA will be a charm, most have accepted the new law and are looking ways to adapt and profit from its provisions.