The story of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) public exchange system has been full of shocking twists and turns, but George Kalogeropoulos says he sees signs that 2019 sales could be strong.
Kalogeropoulos is the chief executive officer at HealthSherpa, a Web-based health insurance broker and ACA exchange agent support services firm.
The number of ACA exchange agents fell sharply in 2017 and 2018, as President Donald Trump entered the White House, and angry, loss-plagued health insurers backed away from both HealthCare.gov and the state-based public exchange programs.
This year, however, “we’re seeing a very strong recovery,” Kalogeropoulos said Friday in an interview.
HealthSherpa has the strongest presence in states that use HealthCare.gov, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ ACA exchange enrollment and administration system.
Kalogeropoulos is hoping that new web broker connection services HealthCare.gov managers are adding will boost exchange plan sales even more, by increasing the odds that consumers who visit ACA exchange websites will actually buy coverage.
What HealthSherpa Does
HealthSherpa was founded in San Francisco in 2013 as Geozoning Inc., and Geozoning is still its official name.
The company operates as an insurance agency in its own right. The company earns commissions by selling individual major medical insurance to individuals.
The company also helps employers get their employees and dependents enrolled in health coverage.
Another arm of the company provides ACA public exchange plan enrollment support services for insurance agents, insurance brokers, and nonprofit organizations. The company is offering the support services for free during the ACA “special enrollment period” — up until Oct. 31.
The open enrollment period for 2019 coverage is set to run from Nov. 1 through Dec. 15.
HealthSherpa’s Own Performance
HealthSherpa is a privately held company. Kalogeropoulos declined to give specific figures about the company’s finances.
But more health insurers say they will pay HealthSherpa sales commissions in 2019, commission rates are rising, and sales commissions will be available in more markets, Kalogeropoulos said.
In Arizona, for example, HealthSherpa offered no commission-paying exchange plan issuers for 2018. For 2019, Kalogeropoulos expects to be offering plans from three or four commission-paying issuers.
Kalogeropoulos said he also sees independent retail agents showing more interest in HealthSherpa’s agent support services.