With Obamacare Deadlines Changing as fast as Runway Models, we asked an expert
Because there is so much confusion with the changing benchmarks and deadlines for health insurance mandated by the ACA Act, often called Obamacare, we asked a local agent of ACA in California to answer our reader's questions. Kristin Lannum was kind to give us some time to answer our questions. She is an agent of California Covered and can be found on Face Book at: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Lannum-Insurance-Services/155087027841371
InEDC's Cris Alarcon interviewed Kristin Lannum of Lannum Insurance Services
InEDC: So, when is the deadline?
Kristin Lannum: The deadline to sign up for health care under the new healthcare law is March 31st. That will give you a start date of April 15th.
InEDC: I have heard that it is too late to get Covered California health insurance coverage in March.
Kristin Lannum: The final signup date to get insurance is March 31". If you had wanted a start date of March 1, you would have had to sign up by Feb. 15. and have had your premium in by Feb 25. for the March 1" start date. There is a complicated formula for when the insurance starts based on when you pay. In simple terms insurance could have been paid active for months and you can still get it before April 15th by signing up before March 15th. Just give me a call or email me and I will tell you the exact dates for different time periods.
InEDC: The news is that the website functions so badly that people are not able to get signed up?
Kristin Lannum: Depending upon the time of day you try the website will determine how hard it is to get through the system. It has been my experience that very early morning works the best and after about 8 pm at night. It seems as if starting at around 12 pm til 6 pm is the busiest time and the time the site experiences serious slowdowns. I have access to what is known as an "agent portal" which does not seem to have as many slowdowns.
InEDC: So you can help them because you have a 'backdoor'?
Kristin Lannum: All CCA (Covered California) agents have access to the "agent portal" which does not seem to have as many slowdowns and can help when the client site is not helpful. However, that being said, the closer we get to the deadline, all portals to the site will be slower and experience problems. If this happens, ask your agent to fill out a paper application with your info and ask them to submit it online when the site is less congested. If it gets really bad, then your info has been captured and the application can either be mailed or faxed. Also, make sure if the application is submitted via the portal that you get the Case number and Application number from the agent. That will help if there is a problem with the insurance company. If they send in a paper application, gets copy from the agent for your records.
InEDC: Is it true that there are no waiting periods or exceptions for pre-existing conditions? Does this mean that someone can get insurance and go to the doctor in about 30 days?
Kristin Lannum: Yes, it is one of the hallmarks of the Affordable Care Act that there are no waiting periods or exceptions for pre-existing conditions.
InEDC: How long does it take to submit online?
Kristin Lannum: If you have the required documents with you (in the event the system requires it), it can take from 30 minutes to 1 hour depending upon the CCA site. If we have to revert to a paper application it might take longer.
InEDC: What are the required documents?
Kristin Lannum: It is a good idea to have a copy of your driver's license, social security card and last tax statement. I can scan them in and if the CCA system alerts me that that is needed, I already have them in my system and can upload them without having you come back to the office thereby saving us time.
InEDC:How much does it cost to have an agent submit my application for me either online or by paper?
Kristin Lannum: Nothing. We receive a small fee from the carriers making their plans available to the public.
Kristin Lannum can be found on Face Book at: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Lannum-Insurance-Services/155087027841371