Insurance agents and brokers have been trading horror stories about 2017 individual health insurance commission cuts for months, but the state-based Affordable Care Act exchanges are still hoping they can find a way to get consumers through their virtual doors for the 2017 open enrollment period.
Covered California, a state-based ACA exchange with 1.3 million enrollees, says it had 14,398 certified insurance agents at the beginning of October, or 11 percent more than it had a year earlier.
Covered California includes agents in its guide to finding local, in-person help. The link to the guide is right next to the link that leads to Covered California’s online enrollment system.
HealthCare.gov, the system that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services set up to provide ACA exchange enrollment and account administration services in states that are unwilling or unable to provide the services, requires its agents to get recertified every year. Covered California does not.
It’s not clear how many of the Covered California agents are still interested in selling exchange coverage. Peter Lee, the executive director, said exchange managers will build momentum by running a new television ad aimed squarely at the state’s remaining uninsured people, and by organizing a bus tour that will start Nov. 12.
“We are incredibly committed to marketing,” Lee said last week during a board meeting, which was streamed live on the web.
Covered California and other state-based exchanges are marketing the open enrollment period through their Twitter feeds today. Nonprofit exchange assistance and enrollment services were also out marketing their services through Twitter.
Commercial agents and brokers do not seem to be doing much to market individual health services on Twitter today, but eHealth, the Mountain View, California-based parent of eHealthInsurance.com, a Web broker, has an ad aimed at ACA open enrollment period shoppers that comes up for consumers who search for terms such as “health insurance,” “buy health insurance” or “compare insurance.