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Covered California and Obamacare related questions from consumers, employers and agents are answered by Phil Daigle with the best information available at the time. Archived entries may no longer be accurate as the Covered California and Obamacare knowledge-base is evolving quickly. TO REQUEST A PERSONAL RESPONSE INCLUDE EMAIL ADDRESS.

Refuse Agent Delegation?

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Question: In terms of paper applications submitted to Covered CA by agents; if the agent doesn’t accept the online agent delegation, will Covered CA still process the application for the applicant minus the agent? We are loosing confidence in CC, and are considering our options including cutting ties, but want to make sure our clients applications are properly processed.

Answer: If you submitted a paper app for a client and then refuse the delegation online, you would be doing your client a great disservice. There’s no telling how long that application would remain in limbo if you refuse to enter it online. Not matter how you feel about Covered California, you know you have to put the client first.


Adios …

I’m not going to disagree with you one bit about the sad state of affairs at CoveredCA. Our idiot legislators in Sacramento set up a system without any legislative oversight (as they have does with many other “commissions”), and every resident of CA suffers as a result.

My sentiments on this topic are well-established on this website and elsewhere (I have been banned from commenting on the “StateReforum” website because I attempted to post “negative” comments about Obamacare and CoveredCA there — apparently they only want to hear good things, I guess.)

However, you and your company must rise above this. To abandon your clients is far worse for “YOUR REPUTATION” than having to put up with a little extra work. In fact, by doing so you will violate the Insurance Code, specifically a portion of the Insurance Information and Privacy Protection Act, Section 791.02(a)(1)(C), which states “as used in this act: (a) (1) “Adverse underwriting decision” means any of the following actions with respect to insurance transactions involving insurance coverage that is individually underwritten:

(C) Failure of an agent to apply for insurance coverage with a specific insurance institution that the agent represents and that is requested by an applicant.

You can lose your license for such an act, and I wouldn’t want to see that to happen because of CoveredCA’s ineptitude.

Your attitude in this is reflective of your “REPUTATION” as far as I’m concerned.

Remember, the whole business of insurance is not about YOU or your “REPUTATION”, it’s not about YOUR AGENCY, or your INSURANCE COMPANY or either of their “REPUTATIONS” … it is 100% about DOING WHAT IS RIGHT FOR YOUR CLIENTS 100% OF THE TIME.

And what is right for your clients as far as Obamacare is concerned is submitting their application via CoveredCA in order for them to obtain the premium tax credits the government has promised (even if it cannot afford them in the first place). No matter how many times you have to reload a webpage because the system can’t handle the traffic between 10am and 5pm. That’s not my fault nor is it yours, but it’s what we have to do.

And I would not be all that concerned about coverage on January 1 as long as the application is submitted on or before December 15. Despite all the filing extensions, I view that as a hard target. There may be some grace in the days following, but observing that deadline should be a priority.

Insurers will have to make coverage retroactive to January 1 for all applications that are submitted on or before the deadline — whatever it ends up being, and they will cooperate — because that’s about their reputation. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if Congress cobbles together an amendment in the next month, due to all the problems at Healthcare.gov, that makes health insurance retroactive to January 1 for all persons who apply before March 31, 2014. Whether they make insureds pay past due premiums is another story.

So, please! If you have any reputation to preserve in the first place, act the part of the professional you claim to be. If you show your clients the communication from CoveredCA that is directing those who have submitted paper apps to resubmit online, how can your client lose confidence in you? They will appreciate the effort you have taken on their part.

And, yes, at 4% commissions we are all working for virtually less money than a food server at Denny’s, but it’s still not about us. We must do everything possible to get eligible folks enrolled — insurance or Medi-Cal, doesn’t make a difference. But if you understand this business at all, you should know that it’s never about the money. If your focus is on “the money” more than the client, you’re here for the wrong reason to begin with.

At this point, our company who has promoted and associated itself with Covered California has to separate itself from CC to save our reputation. We were told that agents would be able to help clients get coverage through the exchange. We were told we would be able to help clients online. When that didn’t work, we were told to submit paper applications, which we did for almost two months. Now we’re back to being told we have to enter all the information online - if you can stay logged in without errors long enough. Meanwhile, my clients are sitting and waiting thinking our company is on top of things for them. Some of these people have policies that are canceling on January 1st and they’re just days away from being uninsured because Covered California is a joke. THIS IS A REFLECTION ON MY BUSINESS AND ITS REPUTATION AND I CAN NO LONGER ATTEMPT TO JEOPARDIZE IT FOR THIS DEBACLE OF A SYSTEM.

Welcome to the world of the obscure bureaucracy at CoveredCA, Union Guy. The issue press releases about how well things are going, and then tell us how well they aren’t.

Click on Find Help Near You and find your name as the agent.

I just filled out my first online application in behalf of my client, however I didn’t notice a section where I can enter my agent info like on the paper applications. Is there another way for CC to find out who the assisting agent is?

In assisting a client with their online Covered California application today, I saw an inserted overlay text notice which said applicants have until Jan 14th, 2014, to submit an application.

There is an appearance that Covered California has again extended the application filing deadline, this time to Jan 14th, 2014.

Does anyone have any additional information about this? Or if this is correct?

Of course, no word from Covered California on this notice.

What’s this email I received from CovCa about they can’t get to the applications we have mailed in and we now need to enter them ourselves online!?? This is totally unacceptable and their way of dishing of the work to us agents. We did our job and met with the clients, went through the application with them, went to the post office and paid the postage and mailed them off. All for a lousy reduced commission. Now they are telling us they can’t get to them??? We need to form an agents union alliance to not stand for this crap. With 8 days to go to get it applications they tell us now! What about the liability involved for entering their information for them?? And to tell clients at the 11th hour they need to submit it online and put me down as the agent is total BS too. Most of my people don’t trust the security of the internet either. What do we do?

First, Phil is 100% correct. No matter how you feel personally about the PPACA and “Obamacare” or about CoveredCA (I think my sentiments concerning all three are well known here), our public responsibility as licensed agents is to ALWAYS put the client’s needs above our own. Even if we don’t get paid for what we do.

That’s one of the privileges of being a licensed agent. We elevate the public’s trust in us as professionals by treating them with respect and no concern whatsoever about ourselves. Agents who refuse to figure that out don’t last long in our business.

Second, I continue to wonder why people are using paper applications when an online, paperless system is available. Sure, it’s in its infancy, and like any infant, it stumbles on from day to day, but things will either improve or the whole thing will collapse and we’ll be back to the “old way” of doing things.

The delegation as an agent is an important step in the process. I don’t understand why you would not want to accept that role as the one who started it. The client can always redesignate another agent at any time.

But if you are so dead set against serving as your clients’ agent, feel free to reject the delegation and locate my name and make me their agent of record instead. I’ll be happy to accept the commissions and help them any way I can.

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