When someone loses group health coverage or has a life event like marriage, birth, or adoption, they have a special enrollment opportunity in the individual market. But for brokers, there’s a different reason they’re called special enrollment opportunities – because they create a huge opportunity to sell insurance between open enrollment periods.
Just how big is this opportunity? Well, according to a recent report, nearly a million people signed up for ACA individual plans in the four months between February 23rd and June 30th. That’s about a 250,000 people per month.
As the AP reports, “The Health and Human Services Department said Thursday (August 13th) that 943,934 new customers had signed up since open enrollment ended on Feb. 22, benefiting from ‘special enrollment periods’ keyed to life changes and other circumstances.” These numbers only account for the 37 states using the Federally Facilitated Marketplace, so the actual opportunity is even bigger.
So this is probably a good to learn more about Special Enrollment Periods. Fortunately, there’s a white paper for that!
Of course, there has been one major development since we published this white paper. The Supreme Court ruled in late June that same sex marriage is now legal in all states, and this has resulted in a ton of new weddings. When a couple gets married, they have a 60-day special enrollment window in the individual marketplace as well a 30-day HIPAA Special Enrollment Period on their group health plan(s), so there are plenty of options.
For agents with a private exchange website, these special enrollment opportunities could provide a steady stream of new leads in the nine long months between annual open enrollment periods. While some agents wait until the open enrollment period to position themselves to sell individual plans, this new report clearly illustrates that procrastination could be costly.