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Saturday April 19th 2014

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Covered California Turns to Agents with Backlog

Health care reformCovered California has turned to local insurance agents for help as it struggles to process a backlog of 25,000 paper applications for individual health insurance.

Last week, state officials asked insurance agents who had already mailed or faxed applications to go back and upload the information directly onto the health exchange website.

“We have reached out to ask insurance agents to help us with the backlog,” said Larry Hicks, a spokesman for Covered California. “It’s sort of an all-hands-on-deck situation.”

The exchange has also reassigned some employees to help process the deluge of paperwork sent in directly from consumers. Many of the paper applications were sent during the first weeks after the Covered California website debuted Oct. 1 with glitches that now are mostly resolved, Hicks said.

While consumers can apply for individual health insurance plans directly on the Covered California website, they also can go to an insurance agent certified by Covered California to help them file an application according to a recent report at the San Luis Opisbo Tribune.