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Enroll America speaks up for agents

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Enroll America, a nonprofit health insurance enrollment group, says the next presidential administration should do more to support insurance agents, insurance brokers, and other people and organizations that help people get covered.

The Washington, D.C.-based group has included ideas for improving enrollment support in a collection of recommendations sent to the Clinton and Trump presidential transition teams. Barack Obama will still be president when the fourth annual Affordable Care Act individual major medical open enrollment period starts, on Nov. 1, but the next president will be in charge when the open enrollment period ends, on Jan. 31, 2017.

Supporters of the Affordable Care Act public exchange system organized Enroll America to promote ACA coverage expansion programs, including the ACA Medicaid expansion program and the ACA public exchange system.

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The group has been especially active in states that refused to take ACA Medicaid expansion money, or to participate in the ACA exchange program.

Enroll America has worked closely with other organizations that have put together teams of volunteers, paid navigators, paid certified application counselors and other nonprofit-organization assisters. In most cases, the nonprofit assisters are not licensed insurance agents or brokers.

Producers and assister groups have clashed over what kind of role nonlicensed assisters should play.

In the new set of recommendations, Enroll America describes some kinds of enrollment support efforts that could help all kinds of public and private health insurance programs, and all kinds of people who help consumers enroll in coverage.

The first recommendation, for example, is “Invest in an aggressive outreach effort to reach the remaining uninsured.”

The group refers specifically to agents and brokers in three places.

The group says the next administration should “make in-person enrollment assistance available to every American.”

The next administration should “engage and support the various professionals that help consumers through the health insurance enrollment and reconciliation process, including navigators and certified application counselors, agents and brokers (including web-broker entities) and tax preparers,” the group says.

The group also mentions agents and brokers in a section on improving health insurance enrollment data transparency.

“Publish data on the pathways enrollees are using to get covered,” the group says. “For example, through the call center, with an in-person assister, with an agent or broker, a web broker, directly through an insurers, with the paper application, online through, or some combination thereof.”

Some state-based public exchanges, such as Colorado’s Connect for Health Colorado, already report some information about the number of enrollees coming in through various channels.

The group refers to agents and brokers the third time in a request for improved ACA exchange consumer support systems.

“Consumers, assisters, agents and broker, and call center representatives should all have the same information about a given account, and the account information should be updated in real time to the greatest extent possible,” the group says. 


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