Exchange Agents Struggle with Application Deadlines

™∞Covered California is reaching out to the California Association of Health Underwriters to get help entering information from thousands of paper applications submitted by Exchange-certified agents.

The online application process was discovered to have glitches when the Exchange opened for enrollment in October 1, 2013 so the exchange requested paper application forms as a short-term solution. Since October, agents have filled out the 32-page paper form for thousands of new health care consumers and submitted them to Covered California by fax and by mail.

Covered California is asking certified agents for help in entering the application data into to their online system. Until the data is entered online, health insurers are not able to notify new enrollments and provide a premium notice of payment due. For coverage to be effective as of January 1, 2014, consumers must send payments to their health insurers postmarked no later than December 31, 2013,

Agents throughout California are voicing serious concerns that there may not be enough hours in the day to enter the data in time to meet the December 23rd application deadline. “It takes over 90 minutes to enter the information from the application due to the slow exchange system,” said Bruce Benton of Genesis Financial & Insurance Services in Sherman Oaks, Calif. “To have to go back, at this late date, and key in the data from paper applications I have already submitted to Covered California is extremely challenging and will take several days to process. This is additional work on top of the Medi-Care open enrollment that is also happening right now along with the employer group plan renewals. I am working to midnight most every night right now just to keep up. This is a major issue,” he added.

“For most licensed agents, it is not an option to add to their overhead,” said Sam Smith, president of California Association of Health Underwriters (CAHU). Smith has asked Covered California to offer relief from the legally mandated application cut-off date by insurers for the thousands of individuals who submitted paper applications. Patrick Burns, CEO of Burns Employee Benefits Insurance Services, LLC in Oakland said, “This is going to push agents to the wall, but we are all in this together and we want to find the best possible solutions to work it through to best serve our clients.”

Last Updated 09/23/2020

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