HealthCare.gov managers are gearing up to shuffle stranded exchange plan enrollees into new plans next week.
The Affordable Care Act individual health insurance open enrollment period for 2017 coverage starts Nov. 1. Analysts have estimated that plan withdrawals could affect one-third or more of the enrollees in many states.
HealthCare.gov developed the “crosswalking” system to keep consumers affected by the discontinuation of 2016 exchange plans from losing health coverage simply because the issuers drop the plans.
If an enrollee in an exchange plan that’s going away fails to choose a substitute plan for 2017, HealthCare.gov will suggest a plan, according to officials at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the federal agency that runs HealthCare.gov.
A consumer affected by a HealthCare.gov crosswalk will generally have to make a binder payment to effectuate an enrollment, CMS officials say in a note about how the crosswalk system will work.
Officials in some states, including Wisconsin, have said the crosswalk system violates the rules in effect in their states. In those states, CMS is letting consumers opt out of the crosswalk system.
Health Agents for America, a Baton Rouge, Louisiana-based agent group, says it’s not clear what will happen to commissions for the agents of current exchange plan enrollees, or whether the current exchange plan enrollees’ National Producer Numbers will stick with the application files of consumers crosswalked into new plans.
“Please check with the carriers in your state to verify,” HAFA says in an e-mail bulletin.
HAFA says agents should tell clients about their coverage options. (Image: Thinkstock)
S&P says the future could look better
The current turmoil could cause big problems for ACA exchange plan managers and the individual health insurance market in 2018, but analysts at New York-based Standard & Poor’s Financial Services say there’s still hope for an exchange system recovery.
Many of the insurers that are still selling individual medical major coverage in 2017 are cutting or eliminating agent compensation, especially in the exchange market.