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California health insurance  -  Understand health insurance in California  -  Online health application issues

Common Issues with the California Health Insurance Online Application

We can't tell you what a blessing the online application has been for enrollment in California health insurance.

Try as we might, it's hard to scrub the memories of paper applications (even in triplicate...yes, we've done it that long) stacked in folders with all kinds of missing information and delays.

They had to be mailed in to where it might be a week before an underwriter at the carrier even took a look at it. It wasn't uncommon for underwriting to take at least one month back then and the online app has been a big reason for huge improvements on that front. That being said, there are always drawbacks and quirks since each health carrier's online health application is different. Let's take a look at where most people get stuck.

1. Technical Difficulties.  

Most of the carriers have brought their online app's up to speed in terms of browsers but we still seem some minor issues. There are also just plain times when their online app server is down or crashes. It's not that common but also not entirely impossible.

For this reason, we recommend that you save your online application progress often so that you do not have to start over from scratch. If you do have to start again, the carrier apps will sometimes want to quote you all over again rather than just let you back into the application (we've already picked our plan). If you get through the first page, it should let you back into your application with your original ID and password. If you're having trouble getting back to original app, send us an email.

2. Plan Selection and Family Members.

You have probably decided on your California health plan of choice through our quoting engine or with us over the phone (or email). Needless to say, dozens of plans might come up in the online app process and it can be confusing finding your plan of choice.

The plan names break down into three main categories: Plan name (i.e. Smart Sense), Deductible (i.e. $3500), and sometimes RX coverage (i.e. Upgrade RX). As long as those match, you're good. Also, just look at the premium amount and make sure it matches what you saw in the quote (which it should).

Only list the family members you want to have apply for coverage. It can be hard to remove them after the fact in the application process.

3. Dates and more Dates.  

There are places where we need to provide dates such as beginning and end dates for prior coverage. People don't always have access to this information. Try to estimate to the best of your ability.

Social Security numbers can always substitute for ID#'s of prior coverage (it's a secured site directly through the Carrier). The dates for prior health issues is most important.

Make sure that everything is listed with the best estimates possible. HIPAA coverage is usually confusing to people. HIPAA is a guaranteed issue option available primarily to people who have exhausted Cobra. You can find more HIPAA information here.

4. Health history information.

Health plans are no longer medically underwritten with the ACA law

We all have it and this is bulk of the online application.

There are about 30 health history questions on the online application.

There are some glitches where a "yes" answer will prompt other windows and occasionally, people get stuck in this. The system won't seem to let them out. It usually means there a missing piece of information or field. Phone numbers are needed (although sometimes hard to find) so try to put together the info (doctor's name, phone, address, results, etc) prior to completing the online app.

Again, make sure to list everything.

5. Payment is Required.  

Payment information for the first month's premium is needed to complete the online app. The easiest approach, especially online is with credit card. The credit card will not be processed until we have an approval and you have a 10 day free look window from when you received a written confirmation of your plan offer to cancel never effective for a full refund.

We must submit payment with the application but you cancel it with fee or cost to you for any reason.
These are the main issues we see with the online applications but of course there may be others lurking. Most applicants (probably 90-95%) are able to successfully complete the app. We can always email a hard copy if your prefer this option.


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