According to the Wall Street Journal, the Health and Human Services Department will announce on August 15 how it will distribute $54 million in grants through the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) insurance exchange “navigator” program. The announcement leaves “just 32 business days” for officials in nearly three dozen states to hire and train thousands of workers.
For the 37 exchanges that will be operated solely by or in partnership with the federal government are required to have at least two certified navigator entities. Navigator workers must provide “fair, impartial and accurate information that assists consumers with submitting the eligibility application, clarifying distinctions among [qualified health plans] and helping qualified individuals make informed decisions during the health plan selection process.”
In a final rule released last month, CMS specified that navigator workers must be affiliated with certain community organizations, such as churches, and undergo at least 30 hours of training before they can be qualified as a “certified application counselor.” In addition, traditional insurance agents cannot be selected as navigators, who must not be affiliated with the insurance industry. States with their own exchanges can establish more rigorous selection and training requirements for in-person assisters.