As the date for the ACA open enrollment approached, most health insurance agents were nervous about what to expect and what role they might play in helping clients enroll in the new health plans. This anxiety was enhanced by the cold shoulder given them by Covered California and the health insurance companies in terms of training and information. At the end of open enrollment, many agents felt as if they had been abandoned by the carriers and Covered California while trying to help their clients. This has left some agents wondering if now is the time to organize into a guild and work for better training, enrollment tools and fair compensation for the assistance they provide to their clients.
Covered California for Small Groups
Formerly known as SHOP, Covered California for Small Business employer sponsored small group health insurance plans, enrollment, overview.
With no website and no functioning customer service, Covered California’s SHOP for small groups has ceased to exist. There may be a glimmer of hope for a return, but it is painfully apparent that SHOP is wrestling above its weight class. Whether their total melt-down is a function of poor vision and management from Covered California executive management and Board is anyone’s guess. That is a moot point when small groups that earnestly wanted to support and participate in the ACA have been handed plate of food contaminated with mold and weevils.
The Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) from Covered California has unfortunately proved itself to be just as inept at processing enrollments as the individual and family plan side. What promised to be a stream lined and easy process for small employer groups to offer health insurance to employees through Covered California is beset with a dysfunctional enrollment website and poorly trained support staff. They make Anthem Blue Cross’ decision not to offer plans through SHOP absolutely prophetic.
Compared to existing small group quoting and enrollment systems from the insurers and the Cal Choice private exchange, the Covered California SHOP program seems a little clunky and unfinished. If an employer wants to realize the tax credits for contributing to employee health insurance premiums they have to have a small group plan through Covered California. Except for the option to purchase pediatric dental plans for dependent children, SHOP offers no adult dental or vision insurance.