Insurance brokers feel the struggle in online health plan enrollment process

insurance brokers agents stress
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Bulky, clunky systems online have made it challenging to complete smooth signups.

While insurance brokers are supposed to be acting as “middlemen” in the enrollment process as Americans sign up for health plans to comply with the Affordable Care Act, these professionals are finding themselves struggling just as much as everyone else when trying to battle with certain clunky parts of the online system.

These professionals are finding that they must still refer customers to HealthCare.gov to verify subsidy eligibility.

insurance brokers agent stressWhile working to assist customers in being able to determine whether or not they are eligible for health plan subsidies, insurance brokers are finding that they are still required to send customers to the federal exchange website to find out for themselves. What these professionals have come to discover is that it is actually far easier for them to be able to assist applicants who do not have eligibility for subsidy assistance.

This step is adding a level of complexity to the process that insurance brokers are finding frustrating.

The CEO of eHealth, Inc., Gary Lauer, compared the idea of directing customers to the federal health insurance exchange website to shopping at Amazon and being sent to browse another website before checking out.

It has reached the point that many brokers have given up on finding a method of being entirely up and running for themselves this year, as there is only less than a month left for 2014 enrollment in the Affordable Care Act’s online marketplaces. They have now placed their focus on being able to create a practical solution with the government that will be in place by November 15, which is the opening date for the enrollment for coverage in 2015.

Many insurance brokers are hopeful for a solution that would allow for “direct enrollment” that uses a method that is comparable to what some states have set up in their own exchanges. This allows consumers to use a single website to go through all of the necessary stages of the enrollment process. There doesn’t appear to be any chance that this will happen before this year’s March 31 deadline, but next year’s cycle could prove to be much more promising.

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