Use Caution When Enrolling in Health Exchange Plans

Under the Affordable Care Act you will generally have 3 ways to in which to enroll in an Exchange Health Plan.

1) Through a Navigator,  or

2) Directly with the exchange, or

3) A licensed insurance agent who has certified with the exchanges to offer enrollment into the new ACA plans. and who may also help you compare to plans outside the Exchange for a complete side by side comparison.

Navigators have been enlisted namely by community organizations that have received funding grants through Affordable Care Act to help facilitate the enrollment into the Exchange’s Health Plans.  Navigators were required to take a minimum number of training hours to help them navigate the enrollment process.  Most are either volunteers or minimally paid to do so, few if any have an formal training with Insurance, are not licensed and have little oversight by regulatory authorities.   Some members of Congress recently expressed concern to Human Health Services, the agency overseeing the implementation of the ACA, that personal and confidential information provided to these Navigators may be extremely vulnerable to identity theft.  When enrolling in a health plan, applicants will need to provided extremely confidential data to enroll, and those assisting with the enrollment process will have access to this information.

By applying directly with the Exchanges, applicant will be able to apply themselves.   However, applying for all of the applicable benefits and credits may require several hours of study and many may find it confusing and inadvertently apply for the inappropriate coverage and subsidies.  Telephone assistance will be available through call centers which are neither licensed or experienced with health insurance in their respective states.

While many insurance agents and brokers have chosen not to participate with enrolling individuals in the ACA plans, some have.  Generally, most insurance brokers will have hundreds of hours of  training, and years of experience dealing with health insurance.  Many Insurance Professional will also be able to help consumers shop and compare plans both inside and outside of the exchanges.  There will be a number of competitive insurance plans offered outside of the Exchanges.  By contacting the Exchange directly or a Navigator, consumers will only be shown those plans inside the Exchange.  Further, a knowledgeable and experienced broker will be able to illustrate plans which may supplement coverage under a lower cost health plan while reducing your overall out of pocket exposure.  Insurance Agents and Brokers and licensed and strictly regulated by the State  Insurance Commissioners’ of their respective states.  Many may also carry Professional Errors and Omissions Insurance coverage to help protect you against their mistakes.

If you prefer to review a comprehensive comparison of plans both inside and outside the Exchanges, insure your confidential information is strictly safeguarded against identity theft, and receive help to make sure you apply for all the benefits you may be entitled to, not only from the ACA but from the other various federal and state assistance programs we suggest you submit a request for more information to be sure you receive all the benefits you are entitled to.