- Associated Press - Thursday, November 27, 2014

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Certified insurance agents who helped sign up 40 percent of individuals in California’s new health care plan say they are late receiving commissions, according to a report Thursday.

The agents enrolled a half-million people for Covered California, the state’s version of the new national health care law, but they have soured on the work due to late payments and long wait times when they call to ask about payment, the Los Angeles Times reported (https://lat.ms/1y5NKAR).

In a written report last week, Peter Lee, the executive director of Covered California, said the state still owes commissions to agents for enrolling small employers going back to June and hopes to make those payments next month.

The state also owes 2,200 agents about $2 million for signing Californians up for Medi-Cal, the state’s Medicaid program for low-income residents, and those payments might not come until January.

“Everything would be forgiven if Covered California’s service level got up to industry standards,” said Sam Smith, an insurance broker in Encino and immediate past president of the California Association of Health Underwriters, an industry group.

“If that doesn’t happen, the damage could be permanent.”

Lee has apologized for the exchange’s poor service and mentioned the contributions of the certified insurance agents in recent public remarks.

Exchange spokesman Dana Howard told the Times that the average wait time for agents was about 30 minutes this week and more staff is being added.

It remains to be seen if that will be enough to convince agents to enroll more people in 2015.

More than 1.2 million Californians need to renew their policies, and the exchange wants to add another 500,000 people by mid-February.

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

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