In March 2010, President Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) into law. Although the law is multi-faceted and has a phased implementation schedule, there are a few provisions that leap to mind as I think about the impact of the Affordable Care Act on State agency contact centers:
- Most folks will need to secure some form of health care coverage by January 1, 2014 or risk paying a penalty.
- Employers with 50 or more employees need to provide coverage for their workers.
- Health care exchanges will be available at the State or Federal level to help people find affordable health coverage.
The organizational, operational, and technology demands of launching an exchange are formidable. Each exchange needs to help individuals and small businesses understand the range of options for securing health care insurance, compare policies and premiums, and make a purchase (with government subsidies, if eligible). Imagine the effort that’s required to assemble all of that information and make it accessible to State employees and the public? Now consider:
- Somewhere between 45 and 50 million Americans do not have health insurance and will need to avail themselves of these services.
- Thousands (if not millions) of Americans with individual plans may shop for better deals.
- Thousands of small businesses will need support to secure policies that meet their obligations within budgetary constraints.
If you are sitting at the helm of your State’s exchange:
- Are you going to create an entirely new organization to work with the public, or will you blend your initiative into a consolidated benefits service center? What number will people dial to reach you?
- Do you have enough trained service representatives to handle the volume of calls that you’re likely to field? Do they – or will they – have the right informational tools and support resources at their desktops to handle callers efficiently?
- Do you have a plan to educate the other State agencies about your operation so that they can transfer or refer callers to the right place?
- How will you handle the health insurance application process?
- How will you keep your staff apprised of new developments in the law or the marketplace?
Strategic Contact has worked with State agencies to optimize their contact center operations. We can help you get ready for the tsunami of activity. Contact us today.