BOSTON (SHNS) – The Massachusetts Well being Connector on Thursday took what its government director described as a “important step” towards bettering its buyer providers, green-lighting an settlement for name middle planning and design work this summer time.
“Our member providers want to enhance. We’ve heard that clearly from our members,” Govt Director Louis Gutierrez mentioned throughout a livestreamed board assembly.
The board authorized what Gutierrez described as a “short-term letter settlement” with Accenture, with a cap of $3.4 million.
He mentioned funds made below the settlement could be credited towards “total implementation of proposed platform and repair elements, together with, considerably and for the primary time ever, a Connector-owned and managed buyer relationship administration that may assist us keep away from long-term vendor lock-in and the ache and member disruption inherent in vendor transitions each time we re-up or renew or re-procure a contract.”
Gutierrez mentioned the plan includes tight, formidable timelines.
“Normally, it may possibly take a number of months to implement contact middle enhancements, and the annual open enrollment course of is that time at which essentially the most members have essentially the most important interactions with the Well being Connector,” he mentioned. “We’d like to start out planning for key enhancements in time for the 2022 open enrollment, which opens for buying on November the primary.”
The Connector and Accenture are negotiating the idea for a longer-term contract as effectively, Gutierrez mentioned.
The Connector has labored with Accenture earlier than, contracting with the company final fall to supervise and complement customer support workers when name middle vendor Faneuil bumped into what Gutierrez described as “points throughout the board” — together with absenteeism and issues with attrition, recruitment and coaching — that led to dropped calls, client dissatisfaction and longer waits at a time when the pandemic and related unemployment spikes had been driving curiosity in medical health insurance choices.
A presentation Gutierrez delivered to the board mentioned the Connector “is drawn to Accenture’s proposal in no small half because of their familiarity with the Well being Connector’s contact middle and again workplace wants, primarily based on the assist providers it offered within the fall of 2020, which included an evaluation, further workers educated to function customer support brokers, and administration advising, a few of which continues by means of to at present.”
The board additionally authorized a revision that may decrease particular person and household deductible limits below the minimal creditable protection requirements, responding to a change within the federal metric the Connector makes use of to index those caps.
The protection requirements govern plans that almost all Massachusetts residents are required to acquire to adjust to the state’s medical health insurance legislation or threat dealing with tax penalties.
The requirements embrace a cap on annual deductibles, and in March the Connector authorized 2022 limits of $2,850 for a person medical deductible and $5,700 for a household medical deductible. Thursday’s vote drops these limits to $2,750 and $5,500 respectively.
The open enrollment interval that started on Nov. 1, 2020 is ongoing, because of pandemic-related extensions, and Massachusetts residents can join medical health insurance by means of the Connector till July 23, 2021.
Gutierrez mentioned individuals lined by means of the Connector have benefitted from provisions within the federal laws referred to as the American Rescue Plan, together with first-time subsidy eligibility for individuals incomes greater than 400 p.c of the federal poverty degree.
“Since April, our enrollments in plans that embrace federal tax credit score assist has elevated by 11,000 individuals. That is a rise of about 60 p.c in simply two months,” he mentioned. “As well as, 60 p.c of our 194,000 ConnectorCare members, greater than 115,000 individuals, are actually paying decrease month-to-month premiums than earlier than, as protection that already featured very low premiums was made much more reasonably priced as a result of American Rescue Plan. “
A brand new profit the Connector started providing this week permits individuals who have been on unemployment this yr to acquire ConnectorCare protection with zero-dollar premiums from July by means of the tip of 2021, Gutierrez mentioned. He inspired anybody who has been receiving unemployment advantages this yr to use for medical health insurance by means of the Connector.