Assister Portal Purpose and Benefits
In October 2015, MNsure deployed an assister portal pilot project that provided assisters—brokers, navigators and certified application counselors (CACs)—with enhanced capacity to help consumers with the process of applying and enrolling in health insurance coverage.
MNsure, the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) and MNIT made a serious commitment of resources to design and implement an assister portal. The development phase incorporated valuable input from stakeholders in the broker, navigator and CAC communities.
The assister portal represents a significant step forward in developing an environment where consumer assistance partners can provide MNsure consumers with a more robust customer service experience. Additional information about the pilot is available in the Assister Portal Pilot Evaluation Report and the Assister Portal Launch Webinar.
Beginning in September 2016, access to the assister portal is available to all brokers, navigators and CACs.
Features of the Assister Portal
The essential feature of the assister portal is to allow consumers to authorize a broker, navigator or CAC to apply and enroll on their behalf. To create this functionality, MNsure is using a portal solution that provides the most seamless access to submitting an application on behalf of a consumer. The assister portal also integrates across MNsure's other IT systems, such as identity management and qualified health plan enrollment processes.
The key elements of the assister portal include:
- A "Manage Assister" feature in the consumer's online account that enables them to authorize an assister, view assister details, and change or remove an assister at any time.
- An assister portal which includes a dashboard where assisters can view their associated consumers and act on their behalf to apply and enroll in health insurance coverage.
- A MNsure internal resource manager role with authority to create and manage assister accounts.
Benefits of the Assister Portal
Acting on behalf of the Consumer
- The assister portal can be used to help a consumer apply and enroll if an assister is meeting in-person, talking over the phone, or following up after an appointment.
- A consumer can associate with an assister at any time in the process – before, during or after an application has been submitted.
- If the consumer has forgotten their password or encounters a technical issue, an assister can start or resume their application using the assister portal.
- When traveling for an appointment may be inconvenient, the assister portal allows an assister to help a consumer with their application and enrollment without ever needing to meet in person.
- If a consumer realizes they forgot information necessary for the application or wants some time to think about which plan to select, they don't need to come back to an assister's office to complete the process.
- Since an association continues until a consumer ends it, assisters can continue to help consumers through future benefits.
Associating with a Consumer
Even if the consumer submits an application or enrolls in a plan using their own account, there are still important reasons for assisters to ask all their clients to associate with them:
- Assisters can keep track of clients in a secure environment.
- Assisters can see when a consumer submitted an application, what their initial determination was, and if they enrolled in a QHP.
- For brokers, associations made through the assister portal streamline the Agent of Record process.
- For navigators, associations made through the assister portal streamline the navigator per enrollee payment process.
- Consumers always have the choice not to authorize an assister to use the assister portal. Assisters can help these clients in the same way they have in the past.
Assister Portal Limitations
The assister portal is an important tool for helping consumers successfully apply and enroll in health care coverage. However, there are some things that cannot be done using the portal:
- The assister portal only shows the initial status of a consumer's application. The information is not updated as changes happen within METS.
- Consumer notices are not visible through the assister portal. To check the current status of a consumer's application, the consumer will need to log into their own account to view notices or you can contact the ARC or Broker Line.
- Assisters who want to be disassociated with a consumer cannot do so online. You must contact the ARC or Broker Line to process a disassociation.
- The assister portal does not allow assisters to correct errors or report changes to an application that has been submitted. Assister must follow current procedures for correcting application errors or reporting life event changes.
- Consumers can only associate with one assister at a time.