Producers assisting clients to find appropriate insurance coverage through HealthCare.gov are giving decidedly mixed reviews on the “new and improved” site. While some are zipping through the site in 20 minutes or less, others told Insurance Business the enrollment process is as arduous and aggravating as ever.
The White House had promised a fully functional HealthCare.gov by the end of the November, and officials were happy to report greater traffic following the Thanksgiving holiday. Eagerly anticipating the chance to finish off longstanding applications, producers leapt at the chance to log on.
For Tyann Boling, COO of Anchorage-based Enroll Alaska, the fixes were enough for the group’s producers to enroll applicants who were previously “at the mercy of the federal government.”
“Our agents are working daily on [HealthCare.gov] and it is definitely functioning at a much greater capacity. We’re really happy,” Boling said. “Our enrollment is going up and we’re having much greater success in getting people enrolled. There’s a new bit of optimism out there.”
Boling said most agents are able to create an account, assess subsidies and enroll individuals and families in 20 to 45 minutes. All things considered, she said, the updated HealthCare.gov deserves "about a 7/10" rating.
Further south in Provo, Utah, however, Chris Burton is not as happy. Though he said he is able to get further along in the process, he has not yet managed to enroll a single client.
“We’re getting through a portion of the website faster, but I have not been able to facilitate or complete one application on this website yet,” said Burton, who runs Blue Mountain Insurance, Inc. “It’s an ugly mess. It’s ridiculous.”
Texas-based producer Kelly Fristoe is also frustrated with the site. Though he has had more luck than Burton, he is discouraged by the amount of time it has taken him to walk clients through the application process.
“The monotony of the system—it beats you down,” Fristoe said. “It almost takes two hours per family and an hour for an individual. In the words of Sweet Brown, ‘Ain’t nobody got time for that.’”
Fristoe expressed particular irritation at the number of screens required to verify relationships between family members, “when it’s obvious they’re just brother-and-sister, or mother-and-daughter.”
One thing Fristoe, Burton and Boling all agree on, however, is that it’s going to take a large amount of work on behalf of producers to make sure all clients are properly enrolled and paying premiums by December 23.
“The rules say everybody has to apply in the 10 days and it’s not working,” Burton vented, while Fristoe commented that the site “isn’t where [it] needs to be, with Dec. 23 right around the corner.”
In Anchorage, Boling is keeping her agents busy, “seven days a week, around the clock” to meet the deadline.