Health Care Reform is upon us with open enrollment in October of this year. With that comes some great opportunities for agents and brokers. CMS recently issued a release defining the agent’s role in the Health Insurance Marketplace. It confirms our role in the exchange/marketplace as agents and allows for us to be paid commissions by the carriers. You can read the release here: http://cciio.cms.gov/resources/regulations/Files/agent-broker-5-1-2013.pdf
This means some great things for our business come 2014:
• Guaranteed issue individual product effective 1/1/14: This means you can now sell insurance to those clients who were previously declined or ridered, or who were forced to create a small group to get coverage.
• Subsidized premiums for certain income levels: Premium for certain income levels: Premiums will be paid in part by the government for plan purchased in the Public Marketplace for people making between 133%-400% Federal Poverty Level, (between $11,490-$45,960 for a single or $23,550-$94,200 in 2013 numbers http://aspe.hhs.gov/poverty/13poverty.cfm)
• Disbanding Small Groups: Smaller groups who will not face a penalty for not providing group health may disband their group health insurance policies and convert them to individual policies to take advantage of the individual premium subsidy. By going to the individual side, there will be no more friendly reminders to fill out the yearly MSP. The new application for the individual subsidy and health application was just released. You can see a copy of the new application here: http://cciio.cms.gov/resources/other/Files/AttachmentC_042913.pdf.
• Express Link: Electronic link that will assist employees in enrolling in health coverage and make it easier for the employers to focus on more important things such as managing and growing their own business.
What is the Express Link?
Express Link is an electronic link BCBS provides you that embeds your agent information into the electronic application. This is a way for you to sell insurance policies now. In 2014 we hope that this will be streamlined with the subsidy application in the public marketplace or the “exchange”. Why wouldn’t you want to get paid for something that the Government is mandating?
Where can I find the Express Link
Express link is up and running now and you can use it today to sell BCBS of Illinois individual health insurance policies. There are just a few simple steps that you need to take to get started to help your Clients get individual coverage.
1. Go to the Hallmark Website http://www.hscil.com/
2. Click on Producer Services which is located on the upper right hand corner
3. Log onto your account
4. Click on Express Link which located on the right hand corner
5. Toward the bottom the web page, your very own personalized link is listed to access the OSC Online Application or there is also a personalized button code that you use to add a button to your websites.
Once you have access to your OSC Online Application, you and your Client can work together on picking the appropriate health plan to meet their lifestyle.
When can you start?
You can start using the Express Link option today. Open enrollment for the Public Marketplace plans starts October 2013 for a January 1st, 2014 effective date. Get ready for the great opportunity we all have in the individual market and get your Express Link up and running today.
If you have questions on how to access your Express Link, please contact us at 847-427-8000.
Where can I find more information on Health Care Reform?
You can visit our website at http://mibsga.com/health-care-reform.html for more information including a video which is a condensed version of our Health Care Reform Seminar. As always, please feel free to contact us with any questions you may have.
Please remember to consult your lawyer and/or accountant for final guidance on any health care reform issues.
Small business will not have to pay a tax penalty if they choose not to provide health insurance to their employees.