Covered California Doles Out $13.4M To Increase Call Center Capacity
Covered California has awarded contracts worth a total of $13.4 million to two third-party vendors to increase the capacity of the exchange's call centers during its second open enrollment period, which begins on Nov. 15, the Los Angeles Times reports (Terhune, Los Angeles Times, 10/17).
Last week, the state health insurance exchange released a report outlining lessons learned during the first open enrollment period and efforts the exchange will take to address those issues.
The report identified three main lessons from the exchange's first open enrollment period:
- Consumer interest and interactions outpaced predictions and posed a challenge for exchange systems and services;
- Consumers need more education about health coverage terminology, enrollment and using insurance; and
- Consumers relied heavily on assistance to successfully enroll in coverage.
To reduce wait times for enrollment assistance during the second open enrollment period, the exchange said it has hired more than 1,300 assisters to help consumers over the telephone or through online chats and in-person meetings.
The exchange also said it will provide enrollment counselors and insurance agents with additional tools to educate consumers.
Meanwhile, Covered California's partners plan to launch assistance efforts at about 200 retail locations where consumers can enroll, renew or learn more about obtaining health coverage (California Healthline, 10/17).
Details of Contracts
Covered California awarded a:
- $9.8 million contract to Faneuil; and
- $3.6 million contract to Maximus.
Covered California Executive Director Peter Lee said the call centers needed a boost because they "had call response times that were far too long. We were swamped."
In August, just 1% of calls to the exchange were answered within 30 seconds -- despite the exchange's goal of having 80% of calls answered within that time. As of Thursday, exchange officials said the average wait time was less than five minutes (Los Angeles Times, 10/17).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.