As Open Enrollment for 2021 approaches, Stateside Insurance Services is recommending that our clients not contact either their health insurance carrier or the Health Insurance Marketplace. I am sure that this sounds counterintuitive, but there are several reasons why Stateside is making this recommendation.
- Lengthy Hold Times – Leading up to and lasting through the end of Open Enrollment on December 15
,all health insurance carriers will be inundated with customer service phone calls. Wait times will increase dramatically. You will not face the frustrating delays when contacting Stateside. We will return your phone on the same day you call. You can also contact us by email, which we monitor after 5:00 p.m. and during the weekend. During Open Enrollment Stateside Insurance expands our available hours from 7:00 A.M. to 7:00 P.M. CST during the week and from 12 noon to 5:00 P.M. CST on the weekends. Stateside encourage clients to take advantage of our Online Phone Appointment system so that Stateside may be even more accessible and efficient during the very hectic Open Enrollment period.
- Carriers Will Not Give You An Independent Recommendation – When you contact Blue Cross Blue Shield the customer service representative will tell you only what Blue Cross Blue Shield wants you to know. The same is true when you contact other carriers such as Aetna, Cigna, Humana or UnitedHealth. All carriers will tell you what serves their interests and only have knowledge about their products. Stateside is an independent agency and will offer you plan options from all of the carriers. With well over 30+ years of experience and industry knowledge Stateside Insurance Services adds value to our client’s experience and educates them to selecting the best health plan for their needs.
- Broad Expertise – When you contact a carrier, you will be speaking with someone who is somewhat knowledgeable about plans for that specific carrier. When you contact Stateside you are speaking with a seasoned licensed insurance agent that has a deep knowledge of all carriers, all plan options, and can explain complex insurance terminology in a language understood by all.
- In-Depth Research – Carrier representatives will not provide the detailed provider network participation and formulary composition research, which many times can be the deciding factor when choosing a policy. During Open Enrollment consumers may experience network and pharmacy changes, which should be carefully vetted before making a plan decision. Stateside takes the time to research provider network participation-over multiple carriers- on behalf of our clients, saving them both time and having to deal with the carrier directly.
- Assistance with Subsidy Applications – Carrier representatives are not trained to maneuver you through the lengthy subsidy application process on the government’s Health Insurance Marketplace website. The accuracy of the Marketplace subsidy application is critical. Due to our years of experience with the Health Insurance Marketplace, we have deeply invested in a subsidy application tool that will allow subsidy application and enrollment to be completed in under 10 minutes. Stateside has the capability to walk clients through the entire application by shared screen software. Additionally, and in service to our clients, Stateside Insurance can also create the application account on your behalf with only a few pieces of information.
- Carrier Outreach Contact – Stateside has received several phone calls regarding outreach by health insurance carriers to collect health information. This is another reason not to contact a carrier. First, you have no legal requirement to provide any protected health information (PHI) in response to a general phone inquiry from a health insurance carrier, unless the call is in response to a specific claim. PHI no longer affects the premium charged and cannot be used to complete coverage enrollment. If a carrier contacts you for PHI in conjunction with an application or coverage inquiry, politely say no thank you.
Stateside staff works diligently during Open Enrollment to ensure all clients have the necessary information to make an informed decision regarding their health coverage. Due to the expected volume of applicants leading up to the December 15 deadline, Stateside Insurance recommends that you not wait to enroll to ensure you do not experience any unexpected technical difficulties with either the Marketplace (www.healthcare.gov) or the carrier enrollment sites.
STATESIDE CAN HELP!
Stateside Insurance Services, since 2003, has focused on providing comprehensive health insurance information, responsive customer service and expert industry knowledge for Texas consumers. Stateside has annually been recognized by health insurance carriers and the Health Insurance Marketplace as a Top Producer in Texas.
Whether the health insurance policy is for an individual, family, small business or supplemental Medicare coverage, Stateside dedicates the time, and our deep industry expertise, to ensure our clients have identified the best health insurance plan for their specific needs.
Stateside is available to answer any general questions regarding your coverage options, can provide a subsidy determination, and even assist in creating and submitting online applications for ACA compliant plans during an Open Enrollment or throughout Special Enrollment periods.
Phone Appointment Reservation.
By using the Telephone Appointment System, clients can take advantage of scheduling a health insurance discussion when convenient for