Initially, California had predicted that about 80% of consumers would look for assistance when enrolling in the healthcare exchange. According to a recent article from the Los Angeles Times, insurance agents were responsible for enrolling nearly 40% of people who enrolled in a Covered California plan. This is a huge testament to the work of these agents in getting people covered despite limited resources and numerous setbacks.
Originally, Covered California had planned to have 16,000 certified enrollment counselors prepared to help sell plans on the exchange. Despite their hope, only about 600 counselors were officially certified at the start of open enrollment. By the end of the open enrollment period, there were about 5,000 certified enrollment counselors (nearly ⅓ of of their earlier projections). However, 12,000 insurance agents across California became certified enrollment counselors.
According to California Healthline:
40% enrolled in the California exchange through an insurance agent
40% of people enrolled using the Covered California website
Only 9% of people enrolled through the Covered California certified counselors
Only 9% of people enrolled through the Covered California call centers
Next year, California predicts that even more agents will be needed in order to get Californians covered. Certifying agents will be a huge priority for California during the coming months prior to the next open enrollment period because the Californians who are not enrolled currently will be harder to reach and will be even more unfamiliar with health care options and dealing with insurance agents. Thus, California needs to work with professional, knowledgeable agents who will be able to effectively communicate the benefits of having a health insurance plan.