Insurance Agents Fielding Affordable Care Act Questions

By Alan Van Zandt |

Published 10/08 2013 09:38PM

Updated 10/08 2013 09:50PM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) The Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, is putting local health insurance agents to the test.

The law requiring every American to purchase health insurance is putting some stress on the system.

For even those who like shopping, this marketplace hasn't been much fun.

"The website is stalling and allowing us to finish those applications once we get into the system," says insurance agent Todd Joe.

Joe has been fielding calls from people wanting to sign up on the on-line marketplace website.

For now, it's the reality of the Affordable Care Act for Joe.

"It's a lot for us to take in, but it's just a new way of doing business," he said.

With the mandate for buying health insurance now more than a week old, new health insurance customers have plenty of questions. However, most of them boils down to just a couple key points.

"How much is this going to cost me? When do I have to have this done?" Joe said.

At State Farm Insurance, agent Will Woods is hearing a lot of the same questions. He says it's been a long process getting to this point.

"We've known this has been coming for a long time, so we've been anticipating," Woods said. "We've just recently been able to quote it for customers. Now we're able to quote it, we have a better idea of the application process is like."

Despite all the confusion and questions, Woods says there is one important benefit so far to the Affordable Care Act: No pre-existing conditions preventing people from getting a policy.

"Somebody would have a knee problem, we'd submit an application and underwriting took forever. It was denied or it came back table rated. Now, everybody is guaranteed issue."

An underlying current to the debate, whether it's called the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare, is Washington, D.C. Agents say they're just trying to do their jobs.

"I just try and get down to the nuts and bolts of healthcare," Joe said. "This is what is available and I try not to lean politically one way or another."

"Every time we quote one of these, politics are brought up," Woods adds. "As far as my office and how we're dealing with it, we're going through the process and trying to answer their questions. We don't have anything specifically to say on politics or a change in the policy."

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