The Trump administration may have mixed feelings about the HealthCare.gov health insurance supermarket system — but it has named HealthCare.gov’s first super broker.
The agency in charge of HealthCare.gov announced Tuesday that it will let the web broker, HealthSherpa, use a new Enhanced Direct Enrollment pathway.
If the new pathway works properly, HealthSherpa will get what amounts to a super power: It will be able to whisk customers into Affordable Care Act exchange plans, with ACA advance premium tax credit subsidies, on its own website, without handing the customers off to the HealthCare.gov website.
(Related: HealthSherpa CEO Sees Individual Health Recovery)
HealthSherpa computers will be able to share customer eligibility information with government computers behind the scenes, through an application programming interface, or API, without bothering the customers.
The Old Process
In the past, HealthCare.gov web brokers that wanted to sell ACA exchange plan coverage with federal subsidies have had to hand customers off to HealthCare.gov.
A customer who went over to the HealthCare.gov site then had to return to the web broker’s site to complete the process of signing up for coverage on the web broker’s website.
The hand-off process itself scared off some customers and hurt conversion rates.
In some cases, hand-off-related glitches cut customers off.
The hand-off maze was one of the obstacles that have limited agents’ and brokers’ ability to sell exchange plan coverage online.
Agents and brokers have been asking for streamlined tools they could use to sell exchange plan coverage since former President Barack Obama signed the legislation creating the ACA framework, in 2010.
Officials at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced in May 2017, after Donald Trump became president, that CMS would let firms that met CMS security standards enroll consumers directly in exchange plans, with ACA premium tax credit subsidies.