The Three-Way Call: The Biggest Time Waster for FFM Agents
It’s funny how the Federally Facilitated Marketplace is connected with all the government agencies and can verify information such as income, immigration status and many other things. CMS has an authorized list of agents and health insurance brokers who are certified to sell insurance using the Marketplace. Despite this fact they still force agents to do a three-way call with their client on the phone in order to be able to provide assistance.
Why is this a problem?
During Open Enrollment especially if a client calls during times when call volumes were high the agent would have to wait up to an hour or more to get a representative on the phone, unless the client was willing to do the three-way call very early in the morning or very late at night. If the call is made during business hours and the client is at work there are times when they cannot answer when the agent call to make the connection and the process has to be repeated. This is a waste of time. This is very frustrating for the client and for the agent.
When an agent who uses a direct enrollment pathway works with a client who has an application in the system from a previous year, they can look up the client’s application in the system. But in order to start the new application for the current year the agent has to initiate a three-way call so a call center representative can manually begin the application to unlock it. Then the agent can log back in to complete the application with their client. More time wasted.
Since the list of certified health insurance agents is available and supposedly the agents National Producer Number (NPN) is automatically attached to the clients application or added during the application why not make the NPN number visible to the call center representative. Have them verify the agents NPN number against the list and then connect to the state insurance bureau where they can verify who we are. Once the agent’s information is verified by the NPN attached to the application they should unlock the application and allow us to begin the new one. This is why it’s important for the NPN numbers to remain attached to the client’s application the way it states in the agent FFM training. This has been an ongoing problem since the beginning of the first Open Enrollment Period.
The only time an agent should need to do a three-way call is if the NPN number on the application does not match or if the consumer desires to change agents.