Insurance Navigators get $67 million to aid consumers
9/27/2013, 6 a.m.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has awarded $67 million to Navigators to help consumers with the Health Insurance Marketplace, and it has recognized more than 100 organizations as Champions for Coverage.
HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced the $67 million in grant awards to 105 Navigator grant applicants in Federally Facilitated and State Partnership Marketplaces on Aug. 15. Navigator grantees and their staff will serve as an in-person resource for Americans who want additional assistance in shopping for and enrolling in plans in the Health Insurance Marketplace beginning this fall.
Georgia recipients are the Structured Employment Economic Development Corp., $2,159,360, and the University of Georgia, $1,657,378.
Seedco, a national organization helping low-income households and communities move toward economic prosperity since 1987, will act as lead agency for a consortium of partners in each state and oversee all aspects of the proposed program, providing technical assistance, financial oversight, compliance protocols, and partner facilitation. Seedco and its partners will support the activities of Navigators in Georgia and Tennessee, many of whom will be roving.
UGA’s College of Family and Consumer Sciences and Cooperative Extension Service plans to place Navigators in several offices outside the Atlanta metro region. UGA CES plans to create awareness through community workshops, engage a network of existing partners to reach uninsured Georgia residents, and provide direct services to consumers seeking assistance.
The HHS also recognized more than 100 national organizations and businesses who have volunteered to help Americans learn about the health care coverage available in the Marketplace.
“Navigators will be among the many resources available to help consumers understand their coverage options in the Marketplace,” Sebelius said. “A network of volunteers on the ground in every state – health care providers, business leaders, faith leaders, community groups, advocates, and local elected officials – can help spread the word and encourage their neighbors to get enrolled.”
Enrollment in the Healthcare Marketplace Exchange begins Oct. 1. For more information, visit HealthCare.gov.
HHS launched a 24-hour-a-day consumer call center ready to answer questions in 150 languages. More than 1,200 community health centers across the country are preparing to help enroll uninsured Americans in coverage, and a partnership with the Institute of Museum and Library Services will help trusted local libraries be a resource for consumers who want information on their options. In addition, HHS has begun training other individuals who will be providing in-person assistance, such as agents and brokers and certified application counselors.
Navigators are trained to provide unbiased information in a culturally competent manner to consumers about health insurance, the new Health Insurance Marketplaces, qualified health plans, and public programs including Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program.
Navigators will be required to adhere to strict security and privacy standards – including how to safeguard a consumer’s personal information. They will be required to complete 20-30 hours of training to be certified, will take additional training throughout the year, and will renew their certification annually.
All types of enrollment assisters – including in-person assisters, Certified Application Counselors, and agents and brokers – are required to complete specific training and are subject to federal criminal penalties for violations of privacy or fraud statutes, on top of any relevant state law penalties.
Champions for Coverage include the American Medical Association, League of United Latin American Citizens, NAACP, National Baptist Convention, and the National Partnership for Women and Families.
For a list of Navigator awardees or more information about Navigators and other in-person assisters, visit http://cciio.cms.gov/programs/exchanges/assistance.html.
To learn more about organizations participating in Champions for Coverage, visit http://marketplace.cms.gov/help-us/champions-for-coverage-list.pdf.
To become a Champion of Coverage, visit http://marketplace.cms.gov/help-us/champion-apply.html.