Two nonprofit public health insurance exchange enrollment support groups are encouraging agents and brokers to help with the 2015 open enrollment effort.
Enroll America and the sister group, Get Covered America, recently recruited Marcy Buckner, the senior director of state affairs at the National Association of Health Underwriters (NAHU), to participate in a public exchange webinar for agents and brokers.
Buckner said NAHU believes that 70,000 agents and brokers obtained certification to sell qualified health plans (QHPs) through the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) exchanges run by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in 2014, and that another 30,000 may have obtained certification for the state-based exchanges.
The 2015 open enrollment period is set to start Nov. 15 and run until Feb. 15.
Many of the agents who have sold — or tried to sell — exchange QHPs have run into frustrating enrollment system glitches, problems with getting authorization to represent clients in the exchange system, and difficulties with getting paid, Buckner said. But a survey of NAHU leaders conducted in June found that their interest in selling QHPs in 2015 was only a little lower than their interest in participating in the 2015 open enrollment period had been a year earlier.
So, what did the Enroll America representatives at the webinar say to and about exchange agents and brokers? Read on.
1. In Florida, nonprofit enrollers loved the agents and brokers who worked with them.
Nick Duran, the Florida state director for Enroll America, talked about one agency, First Coast MultiLine Agency, and said it provided crucial in-person assistance in a region with few other assisters. The agency was especially helpful at reaching out through African-American religious organizations, Duran said.
The agents and brokers who participated in exchange enrollment were willing to work alongside the nonprofit exchange helpers, well-trained in customer service, and hard-working, Duran said.
The agents and brokers “came in early and stayed late,” Duran said.