After learning lessons from last year’s problem-plagued rollout of Affordable Care Act enrollment, the government has prepared for a rush of enrollees with a 40 percent expansion to its customer-service workforce, according to a recent USA Today article.
The number of staff manning call centers in support of ACA enrollments has reached 14,000. The boost in call center agents is expected to help lower customers’ call wait times, which averaged about 2.5 minutes toward the end of January. Open enrollment for the 2015 year ended on Feb. 15.
It was a welcome change from last year’s debacle, when consumers were often told that they would have to wait up to a week for a call-back.
USA Today interviewed several representatives from organizations that work regularly with ACA call centers, and many of them reported that service had improved since last year.
However, some advised that if consumers feel they are getting incorrect information, they should hang up and call again to reach an agent who might be better trained or have more experience in handling customers’ issues.
Elizabeth Colvin, director of Insure Central Texas, told USA Today that she believes ACA call center agents sometimes get their problem-handling scripts wrong.
“You can call HealthCare.gov three different times and get three different answers,” she said in an interview with the newspaper.
On the bright side, consumers are reporting that they are having much better success this year with their requests for help after they are locked out of their accounts, usually because they have forgotten their sign-in or password.
During the initial rollout last year, locked-out customers were often told to just create new accounts, which ended up causing lots of confusion, according to the USA Today report.