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Health Insurance Contact Centers Gear Up for the Affordable Care Act

In my last post, I sounded the clarion call for State agencies to get ahead of the power curve to handle the contacts related to the Affordable Care Act. Health insurance contact centers are equally vulnerable to a serious upswing in activity as millions of Americans and thousands of small businesses attempt to navigate their new responsibilities.

doctorIn theory, each State will set up an exchange (or defer to the Federal exchange) in which citizens can explore their health care options as well as the costs and benefits of various plans. They should be able to purchase a plan and secure government subsidies, if eligible. Wouldn’t it be great if everything worked according to plan? In reality:

  • Folks may not know about their exchange or succeed in reaching knowledgeable resources there.
  • Folks may simply know the name of a health insurance provider and call them – whether they know anything about an exchange or not!
  • Existing policy holders may call their insurance carriers to get their questions answered about the new law and see if there’s something they should be doing differently.

One way or another, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) is going to create additional traffic for healthcare companies. It’s probably going to create longer average handling times (AHTs). Worse yet, this increased traffic will happen right about the time that many centers are staffing up and training for the annual open enrollment period.

If your contact center bears any relationship to healthcare, I hope that you’ve got the Affordable Care Act squarely on your radar and have started the planning process for addressing the increased workload. Ideally:

  • You’ll have self-service options – information, FAQs, contact numbers for exchanges and other healthcare navigators – readily available.
  • You’ll have a training plan that prepares existing agents for the range of questions that they’ll address, and amendments to new agent training.
  • You’ll have searchable electronic information readily accessible at the desktop to provide accurate, consistent, and up-to-date answers.
  • You’ll be prepared to staff up quickly to be responsive to the increased demand.

We can provide a contact center assessment to gauge your operational readiness and help you build a plan to address this major market adjustment. Contact us for a consultation.