ACA CHANGES 2018
ACA Season is at hand lasting from November 1st to December 15th. Every year there is a change in the ACA as a whole, and it’s important to know those changes. For 2018, the ACA marketplace has made it possible for each county in the United States to have an affordable individual health insurance plan available. I would like to go through some of the other changes that are found in the plans for the 2018 ACA.
One significant change is that some big named insurers are exiting certain markets around the U.S. Aetna, for instance, is leaving multiple counties including Nebraska, Virginia, and Iowa. Anthem is moving out of counties in Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Virginia and more. Blue Cross is leaving certain counties in Georgia and Missouri. Humana has quite a few exits as well. Be sure to check your clients market and available options in their county. I’ve attached a link to a projected county coverage for an illustration here. Make sure that you are contracted and ready to go with the correct carriers in your area.
Third Party Enrollments & Current Plans
Some good news for enrollees is that you will be able to enroll through third party websites begging this year. Hence, this lets you skip pass going on Healthcare.gov. Rather sign up using healthcare.gov? You can start your process here. It will be important for you to go over your client’s most recent plans to make sure that there isn’t anything better for them. You can review your client’s current plan at https://www.healthcare.gov/have-coverage/.
Research done by Avalere, a consulting firm, shows premiums are rising a ton for silver plans – the most popular ACA plan tier available. It seems that the average rise in premium price will be around 34%. Why the rise? According to Avalere’s Vice President, Caroline Pearson, raising the premiums for the 2018 year will “account for market uncertainty and the federal government’s failure to pay for cost-sharing reductions.” Cost sharing reductions came from the decision of president Trump to halt the CSR payments stating “no appropriation for cost-sharing reduction payments to insurance companies.” It will be important to relay premium changes to your clients. If premiums are too high, your client might not want to stick with the plan. There are multiple other ways for your client to get coverage; if this is the case, then it’s important to present the best option for them.
Shortened Enrollment & ACA Express Engine
One of the most noticeable changes in the ACA is the shorter enrollment period. In previous years the ACA would run through January some years while this year we have been shortened to only December 15th that means we don’t have much time to enroll people. Empower Brokerage has a great resource available to decrease your ACA enrollment time. The ACA Express is needed this year more than ever before because this year’s open enrollment is significantly shorter than the previous years. Before, an agent used to have three months or longer to enroll their clients; now, agents only have forty-five days, minus the black-out period for Thanksgiving, for the enrollment period. That’s why all agents selling ACA plans this year need to get organized with the ACA Express Engine.