BCBS-NC Just Killed SEP Comp

Jan 28, 2016

  1. Post Quartermaster
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    Dear BCBSNC Producer,

    Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (BCBSNC) has decided to eliminate commissions for individual under-65 plans sold with start dates of April 1, 2016 through December 1, 2016.
    This was not a decision we took lightly given the impact it will have on our independent, appointed agents across North Carolina. Other insurers in our state had already made this decision, and we need to level the competitive playing field to ensure customers are not directed to us based on commissions.
    This change is another example of our commitment to the financial sustainability of our company for the long term benefit of our customers.
    Important information
    This will not impact business that has already been sold, just new business sold for April - December effective dates.
    Consumers will be able to buy BCBSNC Affordable Care Act (ACA) plans, if they have one of the established qualifying life events granting them a special enrollment period.

    NOTE: We experienced technical difficulties at the beginning of today's webinar. We understand and apologize that many of you were unable to hear. The information that was covered is provided in this article.
    Please see the frequently asked questions document attached in the producer news article posted today. If you have additional questions, please contact your regional sales executive.

    Thank you,
    Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina
     
  2. TN_agent
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    I figured that was going to start happening. Yikes.
     
    TN_agent, Jan 28, 2016
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  3. bluediamond
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    I wonder how many blue's will follow suit? That will be it for me if that happens.
     
  4. cadylou
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    Me too - my bet that its only a matter of time . . . .the "level playing field" argument is also just another opportunity to blame the agent for directing clients to a carrier because of commission . . . .well, duh . . . . My guess is after another year, no one will pay anyone during the enrollment period either.
     
    cadylou, Jan 28, 2016
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  5. Yagents
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    They don't want the business!

    http://www.lifehealthpro.com/2016/0...il_editorial&utm_campaign=01282016&page_all=1

    Issuers can’t normally change their rates or take plans off an exchange in the middle of the year. Some insurers have tried to reduce the risk of attracting older, sicker enrollees by suspending marketing efforts and reducing or eliminating agent sales commissions.

    Humana Inc. (NYSE:HUM) and UnitedHealth Group Inc. (NYSE:UNH) are some of the companies that have made widely reported changes in 2016 agent compensation arrangements.

    Some of the other companies include Aetna Inc. (NYSE:AET), which has decided not to pay commissions for new individual business sold from March 1 through Dec. 31; Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, which will not pay commissions for individual major medical coverage sold from April 1 through Dec. 1; Oscar Health of New York, and Oscar Health, which reduced its standard commission for a 2016 enrollment to $6 per contract per month, from the base amount of $14 per subscriber per month that it had originally hoped to pay.

    The agent comp announcements suggest that the exchange system might have been able to sell considerably more coverage if the issuers had wanted to provide the coverage.
     
    Yagents, Jan 28, 2016
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  6. AllenChicago
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    What a load of bull! If they truly didn't want SEP business, BCBS-NC (or any other company) could remove their name from HC.gov and stop selling direct, from their website. That's what Illinois's #2 carrier did on 12/28/2015.

    This is just a cowardly excuse to stop commissions...Nothing more.


    Edit to Add: Just saw this.. BCBS-NC is experiencing higher than expected operating costs because it SCREWED UP enrollments big-time this year. Is there a connection between this and the sudden elimination of SEP commissions?

    Story: http://www.beckershospitalreview.co...t-s-making-progress-in-enrollment-crisis.html
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2016
  7. pbbaseball
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    They are removing the enroll now button on their website and said they will make it difficult by verifying the sep if customers call tue800 number. They also went so far as to say that if an agent sold and SEP with the thoughts of getting renewals next year that policy will have all future commissions blocked on it.


    After all of the issues they've had with overdraft and enrolling people into the wrong plans several still don't have cards etc and I decided that if I sell it next year I'm not leaving one person my cell phone number I will give them all Blue Cross s number and let them deal with the headaches 2 + hour hold times and all of the customer service work that was created based on the fact that they screwed up everything severely. Not toentire only paying 1 percent of the usual commissions last month by accident.

    If that were a Medicare Advantage company with the issues they and United Healthcare have had this year with billing every company would be banned from selling for a year which of course is exactly what they want.
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2016
  8. Post Quartermaster
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    In other news, this probably deserves it's own thread:



    The head of California's state-based health insurance exchange says the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) should think about changing HealthCare.gov agent and broker compensation rules.

    Peter Lee, the executive director of Covered California, says HHS should "research the value of potentially setting a minimum commission amount, so issuers are contributing at least a similar portion of premium to this important enrollment channel."

    Insurance company executives have argued that suspending active marketing of exchange plans in the middle of the year is just about the only defensive measure they can take when they learn that the exchange plans they are offering are drastically underpriced.


    Lee says HealthCare.gov requires exchange producers to tell consumers about all available exchange coverage options.

    Setting producer compensation standards is particularly important given the requirement that agents tell consumers about all of the available HealthCare.gov plans, not just the plans from the issuers that pay commissions, Lee says.

    Lee made the recommendation in a letter he sent Friday to HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell. Covered California included a copy of the letter in a board meeting packet.

    The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), an arm of HHS, recently asked for comments on proposed PPACA program benefit and payment parameters for 2017. The parameters would apply directly only to HealthCare.gov, the exchange system that HHS set up for states that are unwilling or unable to handle the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) exchange enrollment process.

    But "we want all marketplaces across the nation to be successful and make these comments to contribute to building on the success we have already seen across the nation in the initial launch of federal and state-based marketplaces," Lee says.

    In addition to suggesting that HHS should consider setting an exchange producer commission floor, Lee says HHS should:


    Prohibit an issuer from having different agent compensation levels for consumers who come in during the open enrollment period and those who qualify for special enrollment periods outside the regular open enrollment period.

    Prohibit an issuer from cutting off agent enrollment commission payments.

    Earlier this month, Sharon Clark, the Kentucky insurance commissioner, said in an advisory opinion that she believes that a health policy commission structure is part of the policy rate filing, and that changing commission terms without getting a change in the rate filing approved violates the state's insurance code.
     
  9. cadylou
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    "Earlier this month, Sharon Clark, the Kentucky insurance commissioner, said in an advisory opinion that she believes that a health policy commission structure is part of the policy rate filing, and that changing commission terms without getting a change in the rate filing approved violates the state's insurance code."

    I would think this would be true in most states . . . .
     
    cadylou, Jan 29, 2016
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  10. bill3173
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    If they continue this ridiculous program, an MA appointment, commission structure and general MA type guidelines is what needs to be done. The slackers would drop out and serious agents would have a better shot at it.
     
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