Health Insurance Navigator Groups Announced

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Information has been released that the Department of Health and Human Services has awarded $67 million in grants to 105 organizations that will assist people in purchasing health insurance and understanding their options in the upcoming health insurance marketplaces provided by Obamacare. The grants will be going to nonprofit organizations, health care providers, and business groups within 34 tates to help them train insurance ‘navigators’ to participate in the Affordable Care Act. The grants are used for states where the federal government will be running the marketplace and for the states that are choosing to partner with the federal government itself. States that are running their own marketplaces have different navigator programs.

The navigators are intended to be unbiased and fair assistants that will not be allowed to accept money from insurance companies to waiver their opinion. They must be able to complete 20 to 30 hours of training and be certified by the state before they can participate in their role in the program. During July, the Department of Health and Human Services awarded $150 million to over 1000 community health centers and clinics to help people purchase insurance in the marketplaces, which are also known as exchanges. Insurance brokers are also allowed to assist people with their insurance questions and help to assign them to a health plan that will be provided through their state’s marketplace program.

An extensive amount of organizations and providers are being given grants so that they can ensure that they will be prepared for the marketplaces and exchanges when they become available on October 1st. The goal is to educate the public as much as possible and promote awareness about the program so that more people will be interested in getting involved and participating in the Affordable Care Act. This is necessary because many of the people who will become eligible for insurance have never had any form of health insurance coverage in the past. Some people do not have a firm understanding of health insurance or how to select a plan that is appropriate for them, so the navigators will be necessary to help educate them about their options.

The educational role of navigators within this program is very important, because they are essentially responsible for explaining the various health care plans available and helping people to navigate throughout the marketplaces. At the initial launch of the exchange, there are going to be many people who have extensive questions regarding what kind of coverage they can get and what they can expect when they have enrolled into a program. Since this is the first time that the U.S has ever had a health care insurance reform such as this, there are likely to be a few errors and issues the first time around. Navigators will need to assist people with signing up and getting the correct information during the process. The goal is to provide a clear and understandable sign up experience to minimize any confusion or issues.