Looming OEP deadline: January 1 effective date

Heath care insurers are ratcheting up their capacity to enroll applicants in the next two week to ensure New Years Day Obamacare effective dates. Licensed agents and brokers in both inside and outside sales are working overtime to enroll new members and re-enroll those already on the books.

The critical time frames are according to the Federal health care website:

  • December 15, 2015: Last day to enroll in or change plans for new coverage to start January 1, 2016
  • January 1, 2016: 2016 coverage starts for those who enroll or change plans by December 15.
  • January 15, 2016: Last day to enroll in or change plans for new coverage to start February 1, 2016
  • January 31, 2016: 2016 Open Enrollment ends. Enrollments or changes between January 16 and January 31 take effect March 1, 2016.

Close-up of a young couple looking at a calculator

Herewith, our sense of the winners and losers in these annual stakes:


  • Insurance companies with homegrown inbound teleservices units. These tend to be the Blues organizations and smaller, localized insurers. Nothing like hearing a neighborhood voice on the other end of the line during what can be a laborious enrollment by phone marathon.
  • The ones whose on-screen data gets accurately saved from previous quote calls, enabling the agent to simply double check info, move on to Social Security numbers collection and that’s it.
  • The greener insurance companies, and their move to reduce the plastic dependence for member cards. We say “YEAH!” to the digital card. Now, doctor office admins—how will you handle the card swipe with no card?
  • Those who get that conversion cannot be assumed, especially when acquisition campaigns have produced significant leads. Conversion strategies must be in place.


  • If your prospective members have to be transferred around to get to an agent.
  • If your agents are non-comprehensible.
  • If you force a potential enrollee to repeat everything ten times. Again.
  • If you quote a rate today that somehow is higher than the one you gave out two weeks ago based on the same information.
  • If you agents’ lingo is unclear, i.e. regarding dependents, deductibles, and copayments.

Are you winning?

Direct Choice Inc. is a full-service direct marketing agency that has worked with national and regional brands in a wide variety of vertical markets. In addition to this blog, you can also find us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn


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