It’s almost that time again. Open healthcare enrollment for 2015 is quickly approaching. With the recently announced postponement, open enrollment is now slated to run from November 15, 2014, through January 15, 2015. Despite the one-month delay, most insurers already fear that the 2015 enrollment period will prove to be rockier than the inaugural Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) enrollment period.
The 2014 roll-out saw more than 8 million people sign up for insurance coverage through the various state and federal exchanges; however, many of these individuals were previously insured via individual plans. It is therefore not very surprising that there are still an estimated 25 million or more uninsured individuals — a number equal to nearly the entire population of Texas. We are now one year further into the PPACA implementation and the deadlines have become more straightforward and the fees for remaining uninsured are increasing. A number of the still uninsured individuals are planning to jump on the healthcare bandwagon.
In addition, those who participated in the healthcare exchanges now have a better understanding of the process and are planning to take advantage of this knowledge and shop around during the upcoming enrollment period. As a result, many healthcare insurers are spending time re-pricing and renewing their products in order to stay competitive.
In 2014, insurers were overwhelmed by the volume of applicants despite months of preparation. Even outsourcing venues were tapped out as a potential resource. Organizations need to plan now in order to avoid a shortage of staff to handle the expected enrollment crunch.
Don’t let your organization head into this enrollment period unprepared!
Today’s “run lean” business environment has made healthcare organizations healthy and competitive, but this is one situation where it is better to be over-prepared than understaffed. Business functions such as customer service, member advocacy, marketing and enrollment are expected to be areas of immense need during the 2015 enrollment period. Organizations looking to keep ahead of the avalanche should work now to line up partnerships and bring on additional staff. A contingency plan needs to be put into place to ensure that there is sufficient staff to meet the demand. Look towards local and contract talent, healthcare staffing resources, and overseas outsourcing venues to provide the necessary personnel. At Jacobson, we are already filling in our pipeline with qualified candidates to help insurers meet their impending needs.
In order to ensure that your organization successfully weathers the upcoming healthcare enrollment period, the key is to be prepared. By utilizing available resources and bringing on additional staff, insurers will have a readily accessible buffer for the anticipated flood gates of enrollment.
What is your organization doing to prepare for the upcoming enrollment period?