HealthSourceRI customer-service agents will help set the tone for the reception the Affordable Care Act gets in Rhode Island when residents begin to phone in for health-insurance-policy information and purchases beginning Oct. 1.
“These are complicated issues and these customer-service representatives will be providing information so residents can make good decisions,” said Lt. Gov. Elizabeth Roberts, who has been making presentations to Rotary Clubs and other groups on the new health-insurance program.
HealthSourceRI, the state’s organization for implementing the new national health-insurance law, is offering 28 different health-insurance plans – 12 for individuals and 16 for small businesses with fewer than 50 employees.
The health exchange plans to hire 75 employees to launch the call center that will offer information and purchase of health-insurance plans that will go into effect Jan. 1.
HealthSourceRI call-center employees are being hired and trained by Connextions, an Orlando, Fla.-based firm owned by Optum, a division of UnitedHealth Group Inc., the parent company of UnitedHealthcare, under a $24 million contract that runs through 2016.
Connextions began the initial four-week training period for 30 employees on Aug. 19, said HealthSourceRI spokesman Ian Lang.
“They’re going to go through extensive training to learn about the insurance industry,” said Lang. “They’re going to have to be comfortable talking to customers and comfortable using the technology, mainly the Microsoft suite of applications.”
The main job of the customer-service agents will be to provide extensive information, including such details as copays, deductibles, out-of-pocket expenses and coverage for chronic conditions, such as diabetes, he said.
The call-center representatives won’t have a goal of selling insurance policies and won’t get commissions, although they will be able to sign customers up for plans, said Lang.
“Their goal is to help guide customers in selecting a plan that best suits their needs,” said Lang.
Connextions has been recruiting for customer-service representatives who are bilingual, specifically those who speak Spanish or Portuguese.