Just like every other business in the country, our call center has had to adjust to life in the face of a pandemic. When the level of intensity began to ramp up a few weeks ago, the call center put in place an emergency plan, anticipating what might be coming down the road and how to provide uninterrupted service to callers. But then suddenly the “what might be” became orders to shelter-in-place in four Georgia counties, both activating and accelerating the emergency plan. We needed to ensure a seamless, and quick, transition to move the entire call center staff to a remote workforce. The leadership team didn’t miss a beat and had each agent set up to work from home, while meeting all compliance regulations, in time for the lockdown deadlines.
The COVID-19 special enrollment period (SEP) isn’t the first exceptional circumstance our call center has been through. When natural disasters strike — fires, hurricanes, or tornadoes — it’s not unusual to have a special enrollment period. So, on some level, for our call center staff, this is business as usual. This is, however, the first pandemic we’ve all been through and the first the time we have handled a multi-state special enrollment period while moving our call center from brick and mortar to a remote model at a time when call center volume has, no doubt, been higher than usual. Twelve of the thirteen state-based exchanges have opened up special enrollment periods to give uninsured residents a chance to enroll in a health plan, as confirmed virus cases continue to rise across the country.
From the first COVID-19 SEP launch, agents quickly responded to help consumers figure out their health insurance options during what has become quite an extraordinary public health crisis. Agents have all undergone sensitivity training as a reminder that a little extra compassion is needed during this time. Since not all states have opened special enrollment periods, not every uninsured individual that calls in will qualify to enroll in a plan. However, agents are well-versed on important life events (e.g. job loss, change in address, etc.) that may trigger an enrollment window, to ensure every person who qualifies is able to enroll in a plan.
As far as call and information security goes, the following measures as outlined in the GetInsured Virtual Office Policy and Business Continuity Plan have been deployed:
- Virtual desktop environment that disables all ports, local printing, and saving of data;
- Wired Internet connectivity ensuring all GetInsured systems can only be accessed from the designated work from home location across a secure VPN connection;
- Work environment checklist to ensure HIPAA policies and best practices inclusive of continual recording of all calls and clean desk policies limiting access to that of the employee only;
- IT support for data-secure, full function remote workstations;
- Management support/access through chat, email and telephony whisper support; and
- Restricted access outside of agent business hours.
So, if you find yourself in need of a health plan, our agents are available to help.