PCIP To Agents: Thanks, now take a hike!

The federal PCIP (and those states who have the federal PCIP instead of a state run version) announced today that effective May 1, PCIP will discontinue the agent/broker referral fee. PCIP claims that the enrollment numbers in the PCIP have 'increased dramatically' in the last six months and they no longer need agents/brokers to assist individuals with the plan benefits and enrollment.

Coincidentally, the dramatic enrollment increase was experienced during the short cycle that federal PCIP actually paid the one-time referral fee to agents and brokers to assist with enrollment into the program.

In California, the PCIP is run by the state via MRMIB and initially paid a $50 one-time referral fee identical to MRMIP. When federal PCIP added agent compensation in October, 2011 to try and increase enrollments, they offered $100 per applicant and CA PCIP increased the fee to $100 one-time to match the federal PCIP. Six months later, federal PCIP is cancelling the referral fee altogether and I would expect CA PCIP to either reduce back to $50 or down to zero to match federal PCIP.

This is bad news for individuals seeking assistance with PCIP benefits, formularies, provider networks and enrollment in the PCIP. I have enrolled quite a few people in both MRMIP and PCIP in recent months and neither has been a particularly easy process. I continually get calls from people who already applied for PCIP and were never enrolled, PCIP never received their application paperwork, or they were denied enrollment for reasons that were at best 'unclear'.

Sadly, the end result of this action, in addition to other recent anti-agent actions, will be further attrition of experienced health insurance agents willing to work with people under 65.



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