Agent Answers

Why Selling ACA Plans is a Good Business Decision in 2022

Written on November 9th, 2021

Key Insights + Critical Next Steps for Agents
Key Insights

  • ACA plans are poised to become even more popular and prevalent in 2022 due to the American Rescue Plan’s subsidy enhancements, a longer enrollment window, increased special enrollment period opportunities, and additional federal funding for outreach and marketing that will drive awareness.
  • Use the longer open enrollment period and special enrollment periods to add ACA-compliant coverage as a line of business, build your customer base, increase referrals, sell more ancillary plans, test-drive INSXCloud, and jump-start year-round prospecting through individual special enrollment periods (SEPs).

Next Steps

Learn more about Selling Year-Round with ACA Special Enrollment Periods in 2022

Get the quoting-and-enrollment tool that helps you get more done: INSXCloud Agent Portal

If you’re uncertain about getting certified to sell Affordable Care Act (ACA) health plans on the federally facilitated marketplace (FFM), it may be time to make the decision to add ACA options to your product offerings.

Why?

With the subsidy enhancements that debuted in the spring of 2021, the longer open enrollment period for 2022 coverage, the new special enrollment period for lower-income applicants, and the expected transition from Medicaid to marketplace coverage after the COVID emergency period ends,[1] there has never been a better time or more incentive to participate in the Marketplace.

Still not convinced? Keep reading to learn about how you and your customers can benefit from participating in the ACA Marketplace in 2022.

Get individual help building your ACA customer base from a team of experienced industry professionals and IBG’s best-in-class business-building broker tools.

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Build Your Customer Base, Loyalty, and Referrals

Nearly 11 weeks of ACA open enrollment (November 1 through January 15) offers a sustained period of time for agents to recruit and convert new ACA customers. And there are plenty of potential new customers out there…

According to Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF), there are more than 12 million Marketplace-eligible uninsured Americans. The vast majority of them — nearly 11 million — are eligible for premium subsidies, and at least 6 million could enroll in a plan with no premiums at all.[2]

KFF also found that nearly 5 million people sought in-person help during the open enrollment period for 2021 coverage, but couldn’t get it,[3] which could signal significant opportunity in the ACA Marketplace for incoming agents.

Helping a customer navigate the subsidy-eligibility process to find money they would otherwise be leaving on the table, or enrolling them in a $0 bronze plan — when they would otherwise have gone without coverage or relied on a non-ACA-compliant plan — not only provides a valuable service to that individual, it can lead to customer loyalty and referrals later.

Open enrollment is the peak season for Marketplace sign-ups, and it’s a month longer this year than it’s been in recent years. But agents can continue to enroll clients in ACA-compliant health plans year-round, using individual SEPs.

And SEP enrollment volume is likely to continue to be higher than normal in 2022, due to the monthly enrollment opportunity for people with household income up to 150% of the poverty level, as well as the Medicaid eligibility redeterminations that will restart after the COVID emergency period ends.

Your customers will continue to need your expertise throughout the year. According to Barb Moore, Technology Platform Sales Director for INSXCloud, in 2020, 45% of enrollments took place outside of the annual open enrollment period. And SEP enrollment volume was higher than ever in 2021, due to the American Rescue Plan’s subsidy enhancements and the extended COVID-related special enrollment period.[4]

How IBG Helps Agents Build an ACA Line of Business

IBG offers a suite of agent tools to help alleviate confusion, increase confidence and streamline your workflow:

You’re just 20 minutes and $0 away from enrolling your first ACA customer on INSXCloud
Ready to get the INSXCloud Multi-Carrier Quoting and Enrollment Agent Tool?

Yes – Get My Free INSXCloud Account!

Leverage CMS Advertising Dollars + Year-Round Prospecting

It makes good business sense to offer a product with big advertising dollars behind it – even better if it’s not your marketing budget being spent!

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) distributed a record-high $80 million in Navigator funding in advance of the fall 2021 open enrollment period, signaling the current administration’s commitment to robust outreach, promotion, and enrollment assistance for Marketplace coverage.[5]

By comparison, during the last four years, the amount of money spent on promoting the ACA Exchanges and annual enrollment periods declined drastically. From 2016 to 2017, ACA advertising was cut by 90%, from $100 million to just $10 million.[6] Four years later (and in the midst of a global pandemic) that amount remained unchanged, with CMS allocating $10 million for marketing and outreach for the 2021 open enrollment period.[7]

How IBG Helps With Year-Round Prospecting

Through year-round training and resources, and best-in-class technology and innovative products, IBG’s team of knowledgeable and experienced industry professionals can help you streamline your business and turn more prospects into customers.

Ancillary products like dental, vision, accident and hospital indemnity plans can be valuable add-ons throughout the year. Short-term medical insurance can provide non-ACA compliant health coverage for those outside of open enrollment who don’t qualify for a special enrollment period.

Request your agent application today and get contracted.

Offer In-Demand Products and Ancillary Add-ons

Do people like their ACA plans? Generally, yes. Despite the lack of advertising and outreach, OEP 2021 enrollments on the FFM were up by about 6% compared to 2020, largely due to the high rate of plan renewals.[8]

And according to a KFF Health Tracking poll from December 2020, 53% of adults have a favorable view of the ACA compared to 34% with an unfavorable view.[9]

Sometimes, increasing sales and revenue can be as simple as offering a popular product. And with an influx of outreach funding, a longer open enrollment period, additional opportunities for lower-income applicants to enroll, and people losing access to Medicaid after the pandemic emergency period ends, it’s likely that demand for ACA plans will increase further.

A comprehensive ACA plan also provides an opportunity to position ancillary products like dental insurance and gap plans. How?

First, though dental coverage is an essential health benefit (EHB) for children age 18 and under, it is not an EHB for adults,[10] so enrollees 18+ may want to add a dental plan.

And most people that enroll on Healthcare.gov obtain higher deductible (subsidy-eligible) bronze or silver plans. During 2020 open enrollment (the most recent data available), 33% of ACA enrollees obtained a bronze plan and 57% a silver plan.[11]

These individuals face higher out-of-pocket costs ($6,258 for a combined (medical and prescription) deductible 2021 bronze plan, $4,375 for a silver plan[12]) and may wish to use some of their premium savings to add supplemental gap coverage (an accident supplement, critical illness plan, or fixed indemnity plan), especially if they qualify for a $0 bronze plan. Many clients value the added protection that ancillary products provide.

How IBG Helps Make It Easy

As a multi-carrier quoting and enrollment tool, INSXCloud provides access to all the health insurance products you’re licensed to sell from all the carriers you’re appointed with in one location. That includes:

That means a more streamlined process for you and fewer worries about application tracking since it’s all in one place. Sign up below to get started with INSXCloud.

INSXCloud Multi-Carrier Agent Portal

All the Products You Sell, One Platform

Get more done with one multi-carrier platform, plus helpful tools and calculators built right in.

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Next Steps for Agents

Ready to move on ACA plans in 2022? Great! Here’s how:

But the easiest way to get started with the steps above is to get contracted with IHC Specialty Benefits and work with your dedicated IBG representative.

Request Your Agent Application Today!

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Footnotes