The marketplace enrollment period has 143 days remaining, has anyone been able to get on the exchange and write business? What a mess! Most agents I’ve talked to are very frustrated that the phone is ringing, they want to help people but they can’t. Some are feeling helpless, like there is not much you can do but sit and wait for things to work out. Clients are looking to us for answers, so what can we do? A great place to look for answers that you can trust is NAHU; take the time to check out the newsletters and updates. The folks in Washington are the closest people to the situation available.
I don’t know how agents, who are not members, get any information at all…at least any that is not confusing and contradictory. Now more than ever in our professional careers, we need NAHU and we need NAHU to have a strong voice in Washington. Who else would fight our battles in Washington without NAHU?
I know we are all so busy we can’t see straight, but stay connected with your local chapter, come to a meeting and read the NAHU updates sent to us each week so you know what’s going on. Remember that your clients rely on you to make sense of not only all the information, BUT the mis-information as well. Let NAHU help you navigate fact from fiction.
This month’s meeting is November 19th, we will have Cathy Edwards from Senior First as our speaker and we will follow that with a 1 hour CE on Medicare Part D.
Please remember to bring your canned goods or a donation for our turkey drive for Loaves and Fishes!
CFAHU President 2013-2014
November Meeting Information
Tuesday, November 19, 2013, 11:30 AM
Hilton Orlando/Altamonte Springs
350 S. Northlake Blvd
Altamonte Springs, FL 32701
This month’s speaker is:
Cathy Edwards, COO Seniors First
Speaking on the Needs of Seniors in our Community
Cathy Edwards began her 17-year employment history with Seniors First, Inc. in October, 1996 as Social Services Director. She served as Vice President of Programs, and was promoted to Chief Operating Officer in 2009.
Ms. Edwards received her Master of Social Work Degree in Clinical Social Work Practice in 1996 from the University of Central Florida, followed by a Certificate in Gerontology in 1998. The credentials were pursued with the specific intention of preparing for work with or on behalf of older adults
Prior work history involved a three year stint as Coordinator of Lay Ministry at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church where Ms. Edwards recognized her passion for older adults while honing her organizational, administrative, and interpersonal skills.
While serving at Seniors First, Inc. Ms. Edwards has represented the agency on various committees and workgroups in the community. She is a member of the Florida Council on Aging and the Florida Association of Aging Service Providers, as well as a member and volunteer of First Baptist Church of Sweetwater.
BLT Iceberg Wedge
Chicken Breast stuffed with Julienned Vegetables, Swiss Cheese and Roasted Red Pepper Coulis
Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Green Beans and Carrots
Warm Rolls with Butter
Iced Tea, Water and Coffee
Apple Pie Martini
Vegetarian option available upon request. Please request with RSVP.
Lunch cost is $10 for Members and First time Guests
$35 for Guests. CE is free for Members and $10 for non-members.
RSVP for lunch & CE by 12:00 PM on Friday 10/11 if you will be attending to firstname.lastname@example.org.
1 hour CE to follow Luncheon
Enrollment and Guidance for Medicare Part D – Course #66379
Presented by Bruce Venema
Registration is Open!
NAHU’s 24th Capitol Conference registration is now open and we invite you to register today! http://t.co/FsGtFSuAWb
NAHU Membership Campaign
The membership campaign will run from July – April 30, 2014 (the end of the membership GAIN contest). Members have unlimited opportunities to be rewarded for recruiting new members!
For the first four new members you recruit from July 1 – April 30, 2014, you get to choose to:
Have your membership dues waived for one year; OR
Receive a $250 American Express Gift Card
For every additional four new members you recruit from July 1 – April 30, 2014, you will:
Receive a $250 American Express Gift Card
FAHU Membership Campaign
The first 5 members in Florida to recruit 2 NEW MEMBERS between 10/7/13 and 1/7/14 will receive a $50 Visa Gift Card! Only 3 are still available, so get busy recruiting!!
Welcome to our Newest Member
Don Winders with Health Care Benefits
Turkey Pledge with Loaves & Fishes
This year we are supporting the Loaves & Fishes organization’s Turkey Pledge. If you would like to donate a turkey it will cost $15.00. If you’re paying by check, please mark “TURKEYS” on your personal check payable to Loaves & Fishes. We also have additional items that can be donated below!
Other holiday food items needed are:
Canned Sweet Potatoes
CFAHU Legislative Report
submitted by Don Marx, Legislative Chair
How can Agents Enroll Clients in the FFM?
So while healthcare.gov continues to experience technical difficulties, many agents are wondering what the best options are to help clients beyond checking back in later to see if the website ever starts functioning properly. President Obama has touted the call center, but in a best case scenario, at this point the call center can really only help a consumer make their initial application for subsidy determinations. Once the subsidy determination is processed, which can take several weeks, the consumer (and their agent) will then need to call back and start the plan selection process and then enrollment and payment must be processed by the issuer. This is a clunky option at best and it has been further hindered by call center representatives who do not always record the agent’s involvement despite CMS instructions for them to do so (If you are having trouble, try asking for a supervisor). It’s very important that the agent NPN gets recorded for payment and consumer protection purposes up front, so do your best to ensure that it gets recorded. We are working on a fix for if it has not been recorded with CMS, but that may be weeks away, so keep good records.
Another option is a paper application, which given the issues concerning the recording of the NPN, might be your best option since the agent can fill in the numbers for their client. The paper application doesn’t yield an immediate subsidy determination either, but the contractor handling the applications just got an influx of more money to speed up processing and seems to be relatively on the ball. Once your client gets the subsidy determination back, then you can proceed to enrolling in coverage.
The final option is one that has been hindered by healthcare.gov’s technical woes. But we are pressing for immediate priority to be given to addressing the ability of web-based entities and issuers to connect with the federal system to offer consumers additional paths to enroll in exchange-based coverage. Both of these options have been delayed by federal marketplace difficulties, but if they could become functional quickly it would help take the pressure off the federal website and give agents and brokers a much more efficient means of enrolling and servicing their clients. Agents who knew which plan their client wanted could access the carrier directly and those who wanted to help with shopping via their own websites could partner with or subscribe to one of the companies developing web-based enrollment mechanisms. Fingers crossed that these options can get off the ground in time!
Components of Healthcare.gov are working perfectly
On Thursday, October 24, the House Energy and Commerce Committee held what we are sure will be the first of many congressional oversight hearings on the abysmal rollout of healthcare.gov. One thing we learned from the four and a half hour hearing was that according to the contractors that built the system, all the components of healthcare.gov work perfectly, just not perfectly together.
Rather than owning up to any mistakes, the contractors pointed the finger at CMS and insisted their individual products were working. Much of the hearing was spent with representatives from each company repeatedly stating that they worked under the direction of their client, CMS, so any questions regarding the testing process and whether or not anyone was aware of the program flaws prior to open enrollment should be directed to the federal government.
We are getting there or are we?
We recently heard from the president, no one is more frustrated than he is with the problems plaguing healthcare.gov. As a result, he’s promised a “tech surge” to speed up the mending process. We also heard during the House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing that the contractors responsible for healthcare.gov are working to improve their components of the website every day and while there is still much to be done, the website has come a long way. This, of course, was all admitted after the contractors originally claimed that they created a flawless product.
In an attempt to keep the public informed on the “tech surge,” CMS has pledged to hold daily briefing calls to report on the healthcare.gov’s technology progress. Secretary Sebelius has also committed to regular blog posts on healthcare.gov.
As if they didn’t have enough to do with getting the website right
You would think that fixing healthcare.gov would be keeping the fine folks at HHS so busy that they wouldn’t have time to issue new regulations, but, unfortunately, conventional wisdom doesn’t seem to apply when it comes to health reform implementation. HHS released a final rule yesterday on exchange financial integrity and oversight. We are still looking through the 236 pages, but it appears to cover the financial oversight of exchange-based plans and the final details of the law’s reinsurance and risk adjustment mechanisms. It also covers special enrollment periods and makes some changes to market reform definitions. Two of our favorite parts include the provisions governing enrollment satisfaction surveys and the numerous references to more rule-making to come on a wide variety of other PPACA issues.
CMS also quietly released $146.1 million more exchange grant money to the states this week. Four states and the District of Columbia received grants of between $10 and $48 million. The primary purpose of the money is for technology enhancements. No joke intended!