The Dept. of Health and Human Service released figures for this year's open enrollment. Data represents numbers from Nov. 15, 2014 - February 6, 2015. While we have nine more days of data to collect, reports indicate the first week in February was one of the busiest they have seen. To date, over 10.6 million have applied on the Exchanges; however, only 7.7 million selected plans. The call center volume recorded over 12 million calls. However, about 200,000 immigrants will be losing coverage because they can't prove legal residency. So while the gov't is touting the success of the law, many are saying there is still a lot of work to be done. Read more:
In a call conducted by HHS on 2/11/15, VP Joe Biden spoke to about 1000 licensed agents explaining the value of their role in assisting with enrollment. He claims that CMS has trained 75,000 agents who are certified to sell on the exchange and that 1/3 of exchange enrollments are with the help of licensed agents. The HHS staff then fielded calls from agents who expressed concerns with 2/3 of people dealing with Navigators who are trained for about 10 hours before accepting calls vs agents with years and years of experience. Kevin Counihan, replied that the law called for Navigators to be unlicensed (and also unbiased) to help enroll people. Agents also expressed frustration with the limited knowledge of Marketplace call center employees who did not understand the rules of subsidies for people who were eligible for Employer coverage that might be deemed "expensive" and therefore went to the marketplace for more affordable options. Many of these qualified, or were told they qualified for subsidies last year that are now being taken away. The HHS representatives agreed this is a concern they have heard over and over again and they need to address this. They agree there is still work to be done and that in some cases, it will take Congressional action to make changes to the law.