Direct Enrollment – One More Option for Accessing Quality Affordable Coverage

Washington, DC—(ENEWSPF)—November 22, 2013.

By Julie Bataille, Director of Communications, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

As with any product, consumers shop in different ways for health insurance.  We have factored this into the Health Insurance Marketplace.  Whether it is through filling out a paper application, contacting the call center, receiving in-person help, or applying online, the Marketplace offers consumers access to coverage options in the Marketplace most comfortable for them.

Another one of those options is allowing insurers to sign up consumers from start to finish —called, “direct enrollment.”  If consumers choose to directly enroll in a Marketplace plan through an insurance company, they still will be able to compare products, and choose the one that offers them the best value for their dollar.  Consumers will be informed that they can compare and select other plans on, and prior to buying a health plan, their applications will be securely routed to to assess their eligibly for coverage along with potential discounts on premiums and cost sharing.  Consumers must have their eligibility verified through the Data Services Hub – regardless of which path they use to enroll.

The option of direct enrollment has been there from the start, and although some issuers have already begun using this option, it has been limited by recent problems with the website.  However, we recently announced that we have put in place fixes for more than two-thirds of the high priority bugs related to the website.  For this reason, today, we are announcing that issuers in Florida, Texas, and Ohio are ready to participate in a pilot program using this direct enrollment feature, which will help inform our efforts to make this option work better for issuers and consumers in the coming weeks. Under the new pilot program being launched today, issuers utilizing direct enrollment in these three states will provide detailed feedback on their experiences to feed into our real-time work to make improvements for both consumers and issuers.  This will help make direct enrollment a viable option for all issuers that wish to use this feature.

This is one more way we are working to offer consumers a variety of ways to enroll in affordable coverage.  Direct enrollment is one more option.  By strengthening the multiple channels to enroll in quality, affordable coverage through the Marketplace, we are ensuring that every American who wants it can gain access to these new coverage options.