Let Insurers Enroll, Senators Say

Nov 27, 2013

Commercial health insurers could be an alternative to the balky  Healthcare.gov if the White House grants a request from eight Democratic senators, including Florida Sen. Bill Nelson.  If the wish is granted, it could mean a huge influx of new customers for Florida Blue.

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson

The senators’ letter asks the Obama administration to let insurance companies directly enroll customers in policies available on the health insurance exchange, Kaiser Health News reported.

Commercial insurers, especially those with retail stores, could benefit most from broadening the ways consumers can sign up for coverage. Florida Blue, the state’s largest insurer, already has 18 retail centers opened across the state, ready to help walk-in customers.

The letter to U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius asks that health plans and Internet insurance brokers get a direct-enrollment path that right now is limited only to the glitch-ridden website, healthcare.gov.

The White House is already testing ways to turn over more of the enrollment duty to insurers in three states,  including Florida. But there’s still the hang-up of determining whether customers qualify for subsidies – that still requires a trip to Healthcare.gov.

The Senators want that barrier removed, the letter makes clear.