Blog « Independent Income Advisors

Health Insurance Agent’s Obamacare Technical Problems

Tuesday, September 12, 2017 @ 03:09 PM
Author: Peter Young

Every agent wanting to sell health insurance  in the Obamacare season must go through training to make sure he/she understand the rules and regulations regarding how healthcare.gov works.  Training is online through the CMS Enterprise Portal  – agents must log on and choose one of several training plans.

The problem is the logging on bit.   It always seems to be a problem.  This year I went ahead and tried logging in using my password only to be informed that my account was locked.  I could unlock it, said the instructions if I would enter my user name and answered the three security questions.  But the security questions I was presented with were not the ones I had set up!  Pressing <Help> only got me repeating the steps that didn’t work.  I would have been stuck had I not remembered the slides I had saved from a webinar I had suffered through a month or two earlier.  The slides had a phone number.

I called and Doug unlocked my account and told me how to log back in.  It worked!  I was back in business.  Until I again tried to log in a few days later – the account was locked again.  This time I called and got Kerry who had me stay on the phone while I went through all the changes.  So far I’ve been able to log in three times using the information he gave me.

Maybe it’s operator error, but every year since Obamacare was first inflicted on the health insurance business, I’ve had problems with the  website I need to work an important part of my agency.

What to do when your health insurance is cancelled.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017 @ 06:04 AM
Author: Peter Young

A client called me to say his family’s health insurance had been cancelled.  Through an oversight he missed a premium payment and once the 30 day grace period expired the insurance company terminated his coverage. What options does he have?

Under the present rules – still in effect – he can only buy health insurance as an individual or as a family during open enrollment which doesn’t start until November, unless he falls into a number of special circumstances, (e.g. his COBRA expired, his insurance company went out of business or he got married) none of which applied to him.

His options are few:

He can buy a hospital indemnity policy.  These have become more popular of late because they are inexpensive – $630/month for a 55 year old with a wife and two kids – and they don’t have super high deductibles, so they appeal to those who want “get something out of their insurance.”  They pay a fixed amount for an office visit or a day in the hospital.  If the bill is more the patient is responsible for the balance.  Generally there is no requirement to go to an in network doctor – the insurance company pays cash, although doctors and hospitals may ask you to assign any insurance payment over to them.  The big problem with these plans is that the fixed payments are often insufficient.

He can also become a member of a healthshare ministry.  These have become popular of late because they are cheaper than buying insurance and members are exempt from Obamacare.  There are however several problems.  Firstly they won’t take someone with pre-existing conditions.  Secondly they don’t provide the same degree of coverage as Qualified Health Plan.  Thirdly – and perhaps most importantly for the longer term – they don’t hold any reserves, i.e. no money is set aside to pay future claims.  If members’ shares (contributions) don’t cover the needs (claims) bills will not get paid.  The ministries have had a good payment record to date but as the ads always say: “past performance is no guarantee of future results.”

Finally, short term medical plans used to be an option for people suddenly without health insurance, but changes in regulations have severely limited that alternative.  Short term policies issued after March 31st 2017 ate limited to a max of three months’ coverage.  Not much help when open enrollment is six months away!