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Covered California website problems extends enrollment deadline

Consumers who were unable to create an online account or start their online application because of technical difficulties can contact a Covered California Certified Insurance Agent to explain that they attempted to get through on March 31 and experienced difficulties. Those consumers will have until 11:59 p.m. April 15 to work with the Certified Insurance Agent to complete their application and choose a plan.

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Blue Shield exposes Social Security numbers on public web page

Blue Shield of California sent notices to their appointed insurance agents that the agent’s Social Security number had been displayed during the course of member’s online payment. The letter from Blue Shield, dated February 18, notifying agents of the breach to their private personal information does not mention how many agents had their Social Security number’s compromised. While I was not shocked to receive the letter informing me that my personal information was displayed, I was angry that Blue Shield let this happen.

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Are Certified Enrollment Counselors prepared to answer health insurance questions?

One of the strategies for enrolling hundreds of thousands of California residents in new Covered California health plans was to have an army of in-person Certified Enrollment Counselors. While these folks are trained on how to fill out the Covered California application, they don’t necessarily have any background in health insurance or how it works. Are the Certified Enrollment Counselors (CEC) qualified to answer simple to complex questions about health insurance and will they be there next month when their client has issue?

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Health Net slashes agent commissions

Health Net notified all their California agents by a letter dated January 29th, that effective March 1, 2014, they will slash the sales commission by over 50% on four of their five individual and family plans offered in California. This further reduction in compensation for agents since the ACA was passed continues to make customer service oriented health insurance agents a “family of dinosaurs” who will quickly become extinct.

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Covered California extends deadline until December 28th

If you missed completing your application online December 23rd because of the Covered California melt down you now have another opportunity to enroll. But instead of calling Covered California or faxing over your application you’ll have to find a Certified Insurance to enter you application into the CalHEERS program online for you. Insurance agents never charge clients for their services. They are always paid by the insurance company or health plan by either a one-time payment, fixed monthly monthly or a commission percentage.

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Discrimination practiced at Covered California enrollment events

I will happily attend any public enrollment event and assist anyone applying either for Medi-Cal or a health plan with or without premium assistance. However, hence forth, I will not attend any event where Certified Agents are allowed to discriminate against people based on their income and Medi-Cal eligibility. Further, if anyone is refused assistance from an agent because they might be Medi-Cal, please do us all a favor and report that agent to Covered California. Income discrimination practiced by Certified Agents needs to stop.

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Agent Alert: Covered California drops health application data

Applications submitted to Covered California in October and November are missing agent designations and have corrupted household information when received by one of the insurance companies. It is hard to know if these data corruptions are an aberration or if the problem may be more widespread in the Covered California system. The bottom line is that these individuals have received no billing information from the carrier and the agent is not the broker of record.

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Paper applications threaten family health insurance coverage

Covered California had high expectations for 21st century e-commerce technology but agents and consumers have resort to 19th century pen and paper. There has been an avalanche of paper applications into Covered California significantly slowing down the verification and enrollment process. The sluggish processing of applications means that some families may not have insurance coverage on January 1, 2014 as promised.

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Covered California estimates 100,000 households stalled in enrollment

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.

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Is it time to boycott Covered California?

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.

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