Health insurance agents and brokers played an important role in getting Americans enrolled in coverage, and they will continue to play a role in the federal health insurance marketplace.
That was the word from Jeff Grant, acting director of The Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight, the agency charged with helping implement many aspects of the Affordable Care Act. Grant spoke during Wednesday’s NAHU virtual Capitol Conference.
During the past year, 51,000 agents and brokers registered to provide assistance in the HealthCare.gov federal marketplace, Grant said. More than half of consumers (55%) who selected plans on the federal exchange did so with broker assistance. In addition, agents and brokers delivered 1.1 million new consumers to the federal marketplace, which represents more than 60% of the new consumers who enrolled in coverage during the past year.
In the most recent open enrollment period, HealthCare.gov included a Health on Demand tool that Grant said “allows an agent or broker to raise their hand virtually and say ‘I’m available’ to help a consumer who wants assistance. If a consumer wants assistance, they can click Health on Demand and an agent will be notified there’s someone who wants assistance.”
Because of the pandemic, a special enrollment period opened Feb. 15 and will extend to May 15. Grant said a new national advertising campaign will launch in the states that are on the federal health insurance exchange, targeting chronically uninsured markets and encouraging consumers to sign up for coverage.
“We are explaining the value of health insurance. We are spreading the message that nine out of 10 consumers who go to HealthCare.gov are able to get coverage with some kind of assistance and 75% of consumers are able to get coverage for $50 per month or less.”
Grant called on agents and brokers to “piggyback on that message and take it down to the individual level – to have those one on one conversations that help close the deal and give a more personal touch. We need you to explain the value proposition of health insurance as well as help consumers with the difficult choice about what plan best meets their and their family’s needs.”
Susan Rupe is managing editor for InsuranceNewsNet. She formerly served as communications director for an insurance agents' association and was an award-winning newspaper reporter and editor. Contact her at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @INNsusan.
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