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Brokers for ACA enrollment
Old 11-09-2013, 11:40 AM   #1
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Brokers for ACA enrollment

A couple of years ago I met with an insurance broker, she handles a lot of old Megacorp RE's insurance. Nice person, explained at that time what she could do after RE.

Yesterday I get snail mail from her offering to help me shop for, and help walk my application through the insurance process. She made it clear that I had to do all the healthcare.gov on my own. She's not asking for compensation, just put her name on the application with her NPN number.

I have limited plans and insurers in this area so I'm unclear what value she would bring to the process. Anyone used an insurance broker to assist them, what did they do to assist you?

MRG
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Old 11-09-2013, 11:46 AM   #2
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I used when I first retired I used a broker to get my health insurance (my BIL). I pretty much knew what I wanted but he provided some helpful insights.

With ACA, our state cut out brokers (no comp in the premium but people can use a broker and pay them separately for their services). BIL decided to do something different as a result. He had been an insurance agent for over 35 years at the time.

I would think she would bring a bit of knowledge and insight since she deal with such stuff everyday.
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Old 11-10-2013, 08:15 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by MRG View Post
Yesterday I get snail mail from her offering to help me shop for, and help walk my application through the insurance process. She made it clear that I had to do all the healthcare.gov on my own.
While it was a nice offer to do this for free, this boldfaced part is where most of the value would have been in terms of using a "broker" to get enrolled. Right now if a broker could get past all the website woes and bugs and correctly get me enrolled based on our household situation and my Indian status, I would gladly pay her a couple hundred bucks for the service at this point. Navigating the web site and dealing with its bugs and roadblocks are exactly what I suspect most people need the help with.
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Old 11-10-2013, 09:08 AM   #4
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While it was a nice offer to do this for free, this boldfaced part is where most of the value would have been in terms of using a "broker" to get enrolled. Right now if a broker could get past all the website woes and bugs and correctly get me enrolled based on our household situation and my Indian status, I would gladly pay her a couple hundred bucks for the service at this point. Navigating the web site and dealing with its bugs and roadblocks are exactly what I suspect most people need the help with.
She suggested paper forms, that makes me think the folks here are so much furter along.

I spoke with BCBS yesterday trying to match plan names to the network backing them. Very helpful, but this person admitted no one there is able to get into healthcare.gov, so she didn't know how the names appeared. We did end up with her helping me understand from the description what network it had.

MRG
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Old 11-10-2013, 10:13 AM   #5
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She suggested paper forms, that makes me think the folks here are so much furter along.

I spoke with BCBS yesterday trying to match plan names to the network backing them. Very helpful, but this person admitted no one there is able to get into healthcare.gov, so she didn't know how the names appeared. We did end up with her helping me understand from the description what network it had.

MRG
If she registered with the regulators to sell ACA plans, she will compensated from the plans she sells ( maybe why she wants her name and NPN number on the app ? ) PPACA regulators tackle broker compensation | BenefitsPro

Brokers will have to register with CMS in a process that will include a “marketplace-specific” online training course. Once they do so, they will receive a national producer number that they can use to receive compensation from an issuer.

The BCBS comment sounds odd. The exchange doesn't create the networks, the insurer does. How could BCBS not know what network they offer when they are the creator of their networks and plans offered on the exchange.

BCBS may be all over the place. Mine refused to play and is not participating, in FL others have posted they are directly enrolling people in their exchange plans, so they do have direct access to the exchange.
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Old 11-10-2013, 10:30 AM   #6
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The BCBS comment sounds odd. The exchange doesn't create the networks, the insurer does. How could BCBS not know what network they offer when they are the creator of their networks and plans offered on the exchange.

BCBS may be all over the place. Mine refused to play and is not participating, in FL others have posted they are directly enrolling people in their exchange plans, so they do have direct access to the exchange.
Sorry for the confusion. The BCBS person did not know the name of the plan as it appears on healthcare.gov. They knew what they called it internally, but not how it was represented on the website. It's intuitively obvious now that the 'Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas City Blue and U Classic PCB Silver' would be associated with the 'Preferred Care Blue' network. Theres a secret decoder ring, or a cross reference that's needed.

Each Blue is seperate from a technolgy perspective. BCBSKC had told me in a prior conversation they inteded to do like FL.(sign you up), but their technology folks 'can't make it work'.

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Old 11-10-2013, 11:36 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by ziggy29 View Post
While it was a nice offer to do this for free, this boldfaced part is where most of the value would have been in terms of using a "broker" to get enrolled. Right now if a broker could get past all the website woes and bugs and correctly get me enrolled based on our household situation and my Indian status, I would gladly pay her a couple hundred bucks for the service at this point. Navigating the web site and dealing with its bugs and roadblocks are exactly what I suspect most people need the help with.
Actually, we now see that this broker will be compensated by the insurer. I would think that learning about the plans and having a broker suggest the top two choices for enrollment would be easily as valuable. One still has to make a choice about which plan will ultimately make the best sense, a broker can help cut through that. Navigating healthcare.gov is a temporary condition.
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Old 11-10-2013, 01:01 PM   #8
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They knew what they called it internally, but not how it was represented on the website.

MRG
Have not run into that. For the ones I am looking at the names are exactly the same on the exchange as on the insurers site. Also when looking on the exchange at the specific plan, the link for the providers list opens the exact same tool as on the insurers site.

Maybe they changed/confused the names for marketing...
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Old 11-11-2013, 06:55 AM   #9
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I am going to be talking with an independent health insurance broker to ask him what plans he suggests for me, given that I hope to be getting substantial tax credit and subsidy with ACA. I also will ask him what income sources I should use for my 2014 estimate, to minimize problems getting accepted into ACA. I am hopeful that he will have useful info for me.

I'm in Pa. Last week I went into a Highmark Blue Cross store to ask about ACA plans. They said so far only one person has approached them to enroll in ACA, and that they did get the person enrolled, and accepted by ACA for tax credit / subsidy, but that they (Highmark) could not get the final step, in which Highmark does something with the ACA, to work properly.
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Old 11-11-2013, 07:10 AM   #10
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For those who have go through the process of reporting your income, how do they treat investment gains?

Our income is mostly qualified dividends from equities in our taxable portfolio that would put us at the medicaid level. However, we also take 0% LTCG or Roth conversions that are totally discretionary but would put us over 400% FPL but below the top of the 15% tax bracket.

Unless I hear differently I would plan to report the dividends we expect to receive (which is easy to estimate) and the amount of LTCGs or Roth conversions that we intend to take.
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Old 11-11-2013, 07:24 AM   #11
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For those who have go through the process of reporting your income, how do they treat investment gains?
They ( web form ) didn't ask details. It was more of categories. Job income, retirement income, investment income etc

That was the Fed, a state exchange may ask differently.
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