The Affordable Care Act – Are You Ready?

The company that handles the professional liability program for IIABA, Swiss Re Corporate Solutions, recently distributed a memo to its policyholders reminding them of the need to either learn about the Affordable Care Act or get out of the business of selling health insurance, either individual or group.  That’s because, if you aren’t knowledgeable about the provisions of that Act and yet you still offer to assist your customers with their health care insurance needs, you are a malpractice claim waiting to happen.  As noted in the title of the memo, procrastination on this subject is not an option for insurance agents.

The memo poses five representative questions about the provisions of the Affordable Care Act related to large employers (i.e., 50 or more full-time equivalent employees) that agents should be able to answer.  If you can’t answer those questions now and you want to still be able sell group health insurance coverage without risking your livelihood, you need to take advantage of the many resources available on these and other provisions of the Act.  The memo lists some of those resources (click here for a link to it), most of which I have mentioned in my earlier posts on this subject (click here for those posts).  The IRS has created a more comprehensive list of online resources provided by the federal government. that anyone interested in this subject should check out.

In addition, the federal agency mentioned in my earlier posts, the Center for Consumer Information & Insurance Oversight (“CCIIO”), will be offering a webinar later this month limited to members of the IIABA on the training and registration requirements that agents will have to meet in order to assist individuals and small businesses in using the health care exchanges that are to be set up for them under the Affordable Care Act.  The webinar will be on Friday, August 23, from 1:00-2:30 p.m.  Information on how to register for it can be found here.

If you want to get a head start on this subject, the CCIIO has created webinars on the training process that are accessible from the website it has developed to provide agents and brokers with resources to learn about the provisions of the Affordable Care Act and how those provisions relate to the services they perform.  While there, you may want to check out the links to the various insurance industry organizations that have created materials to assist agents and brokers in learning about the Act.

Finally, here is a link to a blog post that summarizes the 15 provisions of the Affordable Care Act that will take effect as of January 1, 2014.  One of the provisions mentioned, the large employer mandate, was recently postponed until January 1, 2015, but as pointed out in another blog post on the same site, that is no reason for such employers to relax.  Although this post is directed at human resource managers for such employers, the advice given about what the delay means for such employers applies equally to insurance agents and brokers whose customer base includes them.