Well, this is it – the final day of open enrollment. The season finale if you will. And what a crazy season it’s been.
Just 6 months ago, the Healthcare.gov website and state exchange websites were open for business, and just a few minutes later, the federal site crashed. Some of the state sites did a little better, but some never got off the ground. To say the least, it was a rocky start.
But things have changed now. The Healthcare.gov website is working fine, for the most part – it’s certainly a LOT better than it was back in October. And that’s important because brokers with private exchange websites are still dependent on the federal site to determine tax credit eligibility – it’s done behind the scenes, but if Healthcare.gov is out of commission, HPA partners are basically stuck.
We truly hope that you’ve had a successful open enrollment season. Looking at the sales volume for agents who forwarded individual leads to the call center, it certainly appears so. Congratulations!
But today, on the last day that individuals can sign up for coverage until November 15th, we have some good news – it’s not over!! Actually, forward-thinking brokers are just getting started.
While open enrollment is done, employees who involuntarily lose their group health coverage, either because they lose their job OR because the employer decides to drop the group health plan, will have a 60 day special enrollment period during which they can sign up for individual coverage. And, looking at what’s going to happen to premiums in the small group market, it appears that a LOT of employees will end up having a special enrollment period.
The fact is, most small employers have not yet made their group health decision for 2014. Many of these companies had non-calendar-year plans, and countless others deliberately pushed their effective date back to December 1st to avoid the full impact of the law as long as possible. When these groups come up for renewal, they’re likely to be hit with big rate increases which will cause them to seriously consider the possibility of dropping their group coverage and letting their employees access the premium tax credits, which employees will know more about in the next few months.
There was a lot of initial confusion about the responsibilities and opportunities created by the law – confusion that still exists today. But as people talk to family and friends who are benefiting from the tax credits and subsidies, more and more people will want to see if they qualify too.
What this means
What this all means for brokers is that it’s not too late. Now that open enrollment is done, we can take a deep breath, pat ourselves on the back for a job well done, and get back to work. There’s a lot of business out there to be had, and brokers who are on their toes can steal some of it away from brokers who aren’t. Don’t wait – learn about the opportunities by signing up for one of our free webinars today.