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Covered California No Direct Web Interface for 2014

Covered California Individual Exchange will not provide web-based agencies with a working direct enrollment link to the exchange for the initial open enrollment beginning October 1, 2013. As such, enrollments will require agents to do them "on manual" via a Covered California agent web link either in person or via telephone/e-mail communication.  Only Covered California Certified Agents will be able to access the exchange to assist with enrollment.

I think this is very good news and am sure that there will be many web-based agents/agencies who do not like this decision.  It will take the enrollments in a very complicated environment out of the "click and buy" agencies and put them in the hands of agents willing to work one-on-one with individuals and families to assist with enrollments.  

Agents will be able to assist with enrollments into the exchange via the web using a special link to Covered California that will attach the agent/broker information to the initial application. Online enrollments will be desired due to the speed of approval versus paper applications (some may still want to do the paper application as well).  The process involves first applying with the exchange for permission to purchase a plan and then, upon verification and approval from Covered California, the individual or family can select and enroll in the actual health plan.

In a recent USA Today article, web broker e-healthinsurance complained about not having direct interface with the exchange to enable "click and buy" shopping.  Such is the nature of the new market and it will require a lot more hands on contact than simply "point and click" plan sales.   Agents who are not "web based entities" will face a similar issue as the online quoting services we use (Quotit, Norvax, HealthConnect, ZapQuotes, etc.) will similarly be restricted from providing agents a direct link into the exchange.  

Outside of the exchange it will business as usual with carrier-direct online applications just like it is today.  For Covered California enrollments, it is important to understand and I believe that a significant number of individuals and families, perhaps even the majority, have little or no experience buying a health insurance plan and will need quite a bit of guidance and direct help.  

So, for 2013 open enrollment the only place to click and apply will the Covered California web site and you can (at no added cost to you) get the assistance of a veteran health insurance agent who has obtained the Certified Designation to navigate through the process of obtaining a new health plan under ObamaCare in California.



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