September 19, 2014
As the November 2015 healthcare open enrollment inches ever closer, the diversity of questions we hear at our agency continues to evolve. Individuals and families are concerned about things like premium increases, tax credits and potentially having to renew policies they recently purchased. At the same time, businesses are stressing over things like SPD Wraps and Pay-or-Play mandates, while realizing that there's more to ACA compliance than they were aware. It's a lot of information to make sense of, regardless of how insurance-savvy you are.
One of the main concerns with this, is that unlike the time prior to the Affordable Care Act, plans could be modified at will. Now, when you commit to a plan you're essentially setting it in stone until the next open enrollment. This is one of many reasons why working with a health insurance broker can make open enrollment a lot less stressful.
Let's take a look at how a health insurance agent can help various groups manage issues such as enrollment, renewal, customer service, claims and others.
For Families and Individuals
We admire those who attempt to take on complicated tasks, though we don't recommend it when it comes to your health & medical coverage. This is an extraordinarily complex new system, and just one oversight can result in a drastic difference in coverage type, monthly premiums, deductible amounts and so on.
In most cases, an agent will do all of the data input and other confusing back-end work, simply to ensure that there are no errors which might affect your coverage. And should any challenges arise during the registration process, they will be able to resolve them faster by working with their contacts at the carrier.
The idea of a business trying to manage or renew their group plan on their own, in light of all the new compliance mandates and laws, is nothing short of maddening. Not every update to healthcare reform makes the evening news, though this doesn't make them any less pertinent or binding. In addition to making sure that all documentation and compliance-related forms are accurate and accounted for, a reputable agent will:
- Provide you with ongoing healthcare reform updates that affect your industry
- Conduct regular benchmark surveys to identify areas of under- & over-coverage
- Serve as a liaison between your HR department and the insurance carrier
- Assist with documentation required for COBRA, new polices and other changes
- Work with your management team to implement cost-saving healthcare strategies
For Those on Fixed Incomes
For individuals, couples and families on fixed or limited income, as well as those who are unemployed or in-between jobs, the notion of mandatory health insurance can be a bit scary. In situations such as these, a health insurance broker will be able to assist you with things like:
- Applying for healthcare subsidies or tax credits
- Preparing and submitting essential documents as needed
- Determining your eligibility for government assistance
- The process of enrolling in Medicaid
Free Assistance with Open Enrollment or Renewals
One of the stigmas linked to working with a licensed health insurance broker, is that there must be hidden fees built into the rates. There are not. Regardless of which category you fall into, working with an agent won't cost you any more than if you were to enroll, renew or apply for a plan on your own. The only real difference, is that you will have an industry expert helping you each step of the way.
If you would like to know more about the advantages of working with a health insurance broker, we invite you to contact our office to speak with one of our licensed IL agents. Premier is located in the Lisle Naperville area, and can be reached at 800-369-0287 or by e-mail.