Navigators Will Help The Uninsured Choose Plans Under The Affordable Care Act
(ED: We call this role a “Patient Advocate“, for the time being, but, basically has the same role; plugging the patient into the Healthcare system, and utilizing internet tools to do so, i.e., accessing personal records, etc.
Written April 22, 2013
It seems that there will be a boom in hiring Obamacare navigators. The entities and individuals known as navigators will be employed to help uninsured Americans make decisions about different options for health insurance coverage offered under the Affordable Care Act. Millions of people will be eligible for these coverage opportunities in 2014. Navigators will be required to provide unbiased information about the health care options that will be available through newly designed insurance exchanges in each state. Plus, these same navigators will also be on hand to help non-English speaking consumers with information and documents in their preferred language.
Once a choice is made, consumers will fill out an eligibility application. Then, the exchanges, not the Obamacare navigators, will determine the individual eligibility status of each consumer for their preferred qualified health plan (QHP). The exchanges will also play a part in consumer service. They will run call centers and physical office locations where people can turn for more assistance when filling out applications or trying to get referrals to other state and federal agencies.
A concern raised about Obamacare navigators is that these people are allowed to be openly affiliated with union groups, healthcare providers, and groups like Planned Parenthood and ACORN. Groups like these have had their political agendas highly publicized in the past, and some critics wonder if navigators from certain backgrounds will be able to keep the information they share impartial.
It has been proposed by the Health and Human Services Department (HHS) and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) that these consumer advocates will be paid anywhere from $20-$48 per hour, with the average pay amounting to about $29.20. The training of Obamacare navigators and non-navigator assistance personnel will be funded by federal Exchange Establishment grants, but critics of the plan wonder how where is all the money to pay these workers will really be found. California, alone, may need to hire an estimated 21,000 navigators and non-navigator exchange personnel.
It is evident that all of the details have not yet been ironed out in this matter. Public comment is being accepted regarding this proposal, file code CMS-9955-P, until May 6, 2013. Public comments are accepted in four different ways. Electronically, comments on this regulation may be submitted via http://www.regulations.gov, where you can follow the “Submit a comment” guidelines. That is one way to make your concerns and opinions known.