The sixth annual Affordable Care Act individual major medical open enrollment period groaned out into the daylight today, without much love from anyone — but with many agents and brokers.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services had registered 41,888 agents and brokers to sell 2019 individual major medical plans through the HealthCare.gov system as of Oct. 30.
The HealthCare.gov agent/broker count is down just 1% from the number reported a year ago.
Centene Corp., a major ACA public exchange plan issuer, has reported that it will be selling individual coverage in more states in 2019.
HealthSherpa, a health insurance sales support company, says more issuers will be paying sales commissions for 2019 coverage.
On Oct. 19, CMS made an announcement that could have been a sign of major trouble ahead for the ACA public exchange system: The agency said it was shutting down the HealthCare.gov direct enrollment system, a tool for agents and brokers, because of a data breach.
But CMS got the direct enrollment system back online about a week later. Officials at the agency continue to promote a new tool that will funnel HealthCare.gov leads to participating agents.
ACASignups.net, an ACA public exchange tracking blog, is predicting that on-exchange health coverage selection activity will fall about 4.9% this year, to about 11.2 million.
One question is what will happen after Tuesday’s elections. Depending on what the results are, the Trump administration could resume trying to shut them down, or try to strengthen them and use them as a defense against some Democrats’ single-payer health care proposals.