Many people want to sign up for the Affordable Care Act (ACA) eligible health plans that begin providing coverage on January 1st. People are signing up for various reasons, such as just because it’s the law to have coverage now, people want new coverage, and some folks have major medical issues and want any coverage. All are valid reasons leading to millions of people to sign up for coverage. Unfortunately the primary sign-up site was not prepared for the volume of folks going to it in the first few weeks and additionally has many other issues. There are other ways to sign up including for those who want subsidized coverage, one must see out a good agent for help though.
US News and World Report indicates President Obama is mad about the snafus on the Healthcare.gov website. According to Fox news there are perhaps 5 Million lines of computer code that need to be fixed to make the site run correctly. I’m no computer scientist, but guess if that much code is rewritten a byproduct will be additional lines of code will be created and edited as well. Thus, the numbers are big, and even with lots of resources being directed to work on the project it will likely take several weeks to get it all done correctly where the site runs as it was supposed to run at the outset. Ultimately it can be made to work since there are airlines, hotels, shops, and cruise lines that all allow purchasing of services and goods on-line and they all tend to work well.
Many don’t realize because it’s not being publicized very much, but the healthcare exchange is pretty much a self-service website when you just log in and use it. If you don’t know how to pick the right plan you don’t get any true on-line help with the process. Even then the resources that can help aren’t publicized much and they aren’t created equally.
Navigators, application assistance folks, and agents are all available to help but not publicized much. The self-service aspect of the site is ok for some, but for most having specific assistance selecting a plan and enrolling is very important since they don’t understand all of the mumbo-jumble of the insurance world, even in it’s more simplified form under ACA. All those who got grants and a bit of training aren’t able to actually help you pick a plan.
What is important to know is that of the three groups mentioned, navigators, application assisters, and agents only one is legally able to recommend specific plans and go thru the details of the plans with those persons seeking coverage. To that end knowing agents are the only ones who can offer a full circle of assistance it is likely best to seek out an agent to help secure your coverage.
Of course what this means is those who actually want and need help deciding on the specific plan to choose as well as getting a subsidy need to use a health insurance agent. The agent will help size up the family to the plan and assist in determining if the doctors and hospitals desired by the family are in the plan. In some cases where specific doctors and hospitals are a must the plan choices are more limited, and this is not evident on the healthcare exchange website itself.
An agent will also help families (or individuals) better understand how the costs of care will affect them during the year. For instance a huge deductible may leave the family paying for all but preventive care all year where a lower deductible plan with cost sharing after the deductible in the form of co-insurance may better spread the costs of care for the same family. Co-payments also come into play on some of the plans and may be a better option. Of course plan design and premiums have direct correlations and getting personalized explanations is useful for most. Thus an agent knowledgeable on the plans can help sort thru all of this.
When selecting an agent it’s useful to find one who has several years of experience working with individual health insurance. Word of mouth from friends and family is one way to find an agent who knows how to take care of the clients. Either way, it’s worth checking to see that they are licensed in your state. You can easily see on most states how long they’ve been licensed and also what carriers have appointed them to sell. If they only represent one carrier move on to a different agent/broker who can help you select from among many carriers not just one.
Ask the agent if they can offer pricing from several carriers and for various plans. They should be able to offer up various rates for different metal level plans with different benefit structures. From there together with the agent you can select a plan that best fits your family needs. The agent should then be able to assist securing the coverage thru various carrier tools that link back to subsidy eligibility verification databases without having to go into the actual exchange, which we know is tedious to use.
Please consider signing up for alerts when we publish new articles. It is as simple as clicking here.