Technology in an ACA World

June 2016: The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has had a significant impact on brokers and clients. One of the biggest areas of change is technology, which presents both opportunities and challenges for brokers as well as those purchasing health insurance.

The complexity of the ACA makes it critical brokers have the right technology in place to ensure they are meeting all of health reform’s requirements while still delivering high quality service to clients. Outlined below are various tips to remaining relevant, being more efficient, and staying in compliance when using technology.

Technology Evolution

It’s mind-boggling how technology has changed just in the past 15 years. Millions of Californians used to rely on Thomas Brothers’ maps to get around the Golden State. Today, those spiral-bound guides are just a memory – and navigating to a new address has never been easier with satellite systems that are built into our vehicles and smartphones.

While there were 361 million internet users worldwide in 2000, today over 3 billion people are using the internet throughout the world.  One in five couples meets online today and nearly 90% of purchasing decisions start online. Every second, there are 100,000 tweets, 684,478 items shared via Facebook, 571 new websites created, and $272,000 is spent online (that’s over $16 million every minute).

Our world is changing – and technology is quickly changing with it. To compete effectively – and to grab a bigger piece of the pie – it’s essential you embrace and use technology that allows you to:

  • Differentiate yourself from your competition
  • Enhance your online presence
  • Maximize your production through efficiency
  • More effectively work your existing book of business
  • Reach your earnings potential

Why Use Technology?

Technology offers you the opportunity to more easily tap into two of today’s largest insurance markets: the ACA marketplace and the Medicare marketplace.

Together, these marketplaces represent over 150 million potential sales opportunities nationwide:

2016 ACA Open Enrollment Period (OEP) 

  • 7 million enrolled in health insurance marketplaces
  • 6 million enrolled in HealthCare.gov
  • Total includes four million new consumers – a 42% increase

2016 Medicare Annual Election Period (AEP)

  • 8 million enrolled in a Medicare Advantage or Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug plan – 31% of the Medicare population

2016 New Eligibles/Medicare Aging-in Numbers

  • 10,000 age into Medicare every day (continuing through 2030)
  • 65+ are 14% of U.S. population today – increasing to 20% by 2060

2015 Qualifying Event/Changes in Circumstances

  • 2 million marriages annually in U.S.
  • 1 million divorces each year
  • 3 million new hires
  • 2 million terminations, layoffs, and resignations
  • 1 million births, adoptions, and other dependent status changes
  • 40 million move annually – locally, nationally, and internationally

Web-Based Entities

Web-Based Entities (WBEs) are increasingly important in an ACA world. WBEs are certified by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to connect consumers directly with HealthCare.gov systems. WBEs can help you tap into new markets because they offer online enrollment using the federal and state exchanges.

Operating under strict security guidelines, including the 135-page Minimum Acceptable Risk Standards for Exchanges (MARS-E), WBEs help state policymakers reach their ACA enrollment goals and help brokers assist more consumers in finding the health insurance they need.

WBEs are held to the same security standard as a state-based health insurance exchange; they are subject to CMS audit and process documentation requests on demand. Failure to comply with federal guidelines can result in substantial fines for a WBE and fines for brokers who enroll through non-compliant websites.

WBE certification occurs annually and the 2016 list of approved WBEs – available here – includes more than 80 organizations, including Quotit and our sister company, HealthCompare Insurance Services.

As you consider a WBE or other technology partner, it’s important to know whether they offer:

  • Rates and information for a range of national and regional carriers and plans
  • Single sign-on access to carriers simultaneously for both on- and off-exchange plans
  • Portfolio diversity: Medical, Medicare Supplement (Medigap), Medicare Advantage (Part C), Medicare Prescription Drug (Part D), Short Term Medical, Dental, Vision, Life, Critical Illness, and Accident
  • Accurate, up-to-date online quoting and enrollment nationwide (only 20% of current WBEs are able to facilitate online enrollments)
  • Secure technology and compliance adherence expertise

If your potential WBE falls short in any of these important measures, you might want to broaden your search.

Staying Agile in a Changing Market

To grow your business in today’s ever-changing health insurance marketplace, it’s essential you be able to adapt to market trends and embrace technology advances. Don’t rely only on your own expertise, find a trustworthy partner who delivers the services and support you may lack.

Quotit offers a variety of options and an array of valuable broker services, including:

  • Online side-by-side plan comparisons
  • Multi-carrier quoting – for both on- and off-exchange products, including Medical and Dental
  • Online quoting for ancillary and Medicare products
  • Shopping and enrollment for your website visitors directly on your site
  • Cross-sell engine – set your own rules to suggest other products to your prospects and customers based on what’s already in their shopping carts ADD LINK TO RELATED POST?
  • Connectivity to the federal marketplace: HealthCare.gov
  • Proprietary online enrollment system
  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools
  • Online provider directory and forms library
  • AutoResponder automated marketing system
  • Quote, application, and conversion tracking
  • Industry-leading and fully compliant technology

To learn more, fill out our information request and we’ll be in touch right away about scheduling your Quotit demo.