Updated: 2020-12-13 by
As Obamacare enters its open enrollment period for 2018 health plans, those seeking coverage face more chaos than ever. For many Americans, affordable coverage and streamlined enrollment still seem like faraway goals.
Below are a couple of strategies to help you get your health insurance needs met.
Common Complaints from Health Insurance Applicants
The list of complaints from those caught in the health exchange bureaucracy is long, commonly including:
- the U.S. government doesn't really care about affordable health care for its citizens
- the current administration is cutting support for help resources -- for example, slashing funding for in-person helpers and reducing hours at healthcare.gov
- health insurance exchange websites are still buggy or broken
- phone and chat hold times are unreasonable, and representatives often don’t have helpful answers to questions
- applicants can’t easily compare health plan benefits and costs
- applicants can’t figure out whether their current health care providers are included in the plan they’re considering
- applicants choose plans only to discover later that they can’t afford them
- application information isn’t recorded properly (or protected from privacy violations) by the health care exchange
- exchanges are slow to respond to problems with applications, premium payments, or tax forms, and
- health insurance plans are sometimes canceled or changed without notice.
A review of marketplace social media sites shows that frustration is all too common, and expectations for improvement in the new enrollment season are low. hat can you do?
What can you do?
Try Social Media to Get a Response From Your Health Insurance Exchange
Social media is a useful tool for more than just complaining about problems with a health insurance exchange. In many cases, it’s one of the best ways to get a direct response to a problem. Many exchanges respond to social media posts with speed and courtesy for one simple reason -- the complaints are public, and the exchanges want to protect their images. If you’re trying to solve a specific problem and can’t get someone at the exchange to talk to you, consider becoming a squeaky wheel on social media. Be clear, firm, polite, and persistent, and you may see some movement on your problem.
If your issue is particularly egregious, you may even want to reach out to the local press to see if they are interested in covering your story.
Twitter is a good place to start. To find Pennie on social media, see How to Sign Up for Obamacare in Pennsylvania.
Ask a Broker or Insurance Agent to Help With Your Health Insurance Application
At no cost to you, a good health insurance broker or agent can:
- help you understand whether you qualify for Obamacare subsidies
- compare the health insurance plans available to you, and
- make recommendations on the coverage that’s best for you and your family.
Just as important, the broker can walk your application through Pennie from start to finish, saving you time and frustration.
To enroll you under the Affordable Care Act, a broker or insurance agent must be licensed. You can usually find a list of brokers in your state by visiting your health insurance exchange. (See Get Help Finding a Health Insurance Plan in Pennsylvania.)
You can also speak directly with a licensed Pennsylvania health insurance broker by calling 1-800-943-6832. (Please be advised that we receive advertising income from the licensed brokers who offer their services through this telephone number.)
You won’t pay the broker; they earn a commission from the insurance company when they enroll you in a plan. For that reason, you may want to do some comparison shopping on your own to be sure the agent has considered all your options.
Finally, when using a broker, keep in mind that you can get tax credits and subsidies only if you enroll through your state’s health insurance exchange. Make sure your agent or broker assesses your eligibility for savings and, if you qualify, submits your application through Pennie.
You may also be interested in:
A licensed insurance agent or broker can help you compare plans, figure out whether you qualify for subsidies, and apply for coverage in Pennsylvania.
Where to go in Pennsylvania to get health plans under the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and how to get help with the application process.