Navigators

MNsure Logo

via MNsure, Minnesota's ACA exchange:

ST. PAUL, Minn. — When Minnesota’s open enrollment period starts November 1, Minnesotans who need health insurance can find walk-in assistance from a broker at 18 locations, known as broker enrollment centers. Thanks to new partnerships between MNsure and competitively selected insurance agencies, this expert help is provided free of cost to Minnesotans.

Finding the right health insurance can feel complex and overwhelming, especially for first-time applicants. Taking advantage of free, personalized help from a health insurance expert can make the enrollment process easier and less time-consuming than trying to go it alone, whether applying for the first time, changing plans, or renewing coverage.

Connect for Health Colorado Logo

via Connect for Health Colorado, Colorado's ACA exchange:

Insurance Brokers and Enrollment Assisters Available across Colorado

DENVER— One way the state’s health insurance Marketplace serves Colorado’s health coverage needs is by providing a diverse network of experts who can help residents enroll in the best plan for them – and who can help for free any time of the year.

These experts are Connect for Health Colorado-certified Insurance Brokers and Enrollment Assisters, and they live and work everywhere across the state.

“Our certified experts are a valuable source of support for Coloradans,” said Connect for Health Colorado’s Chief Executive Officer, Kevin Patterson. “But they don’t just provide enrollment services; they offer a continuum of assistance. I encourage anyone who needs health insurance help to use a Connect for Health Colorado Assistance Site. We’re here to help you navigate anything that changes your situation, so that you can stay covered.”

More Assistance and Resources Than Ever Before

MNsure Logo

via MNsure, Minnesota's ACA exchange:

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Today, MNsure, Minnesota’s health insurance marketplace, announced over $4.2 million in grant awards to 22 organizations to support increased outreach and enrollment help in communities across the state. All 22 organizations employ MNsure-certified “navigators” — local experts who offer free application and enrollment assistance to Minnesotans who need health insurance.

Navigators provide crucial support for consumers by answering questions and guiding them through the application and enrollment process from start to finish, completely free of cost. Working with a navigator can reduce barriers to getting or maintaining health coverage such as a lack of comfort using technology, unreliable internet access, limited English proficiency, or unfamiliarity with health insurance terms.

CMS Logo

via the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS):

Streamlining Eligibility & Enrollment Notice of Propose Rulemaking (NPRM)

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS’) new proposed rule would make it easier for millions of eligible people to enroll in and retain their Medicaid coverage. The rule would reduce red tape and simplify applications, verifications, enrollment, and renewals for health care coverage through Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). The proposed rule responds to President Biden’s January 2021 and April 2022 Executive Orders to strengthen Medicaid and access to affordable, quality health coverage.

Get Covered NJ Logo

via the New Jersey Dept. of Banking & Insurance:

  • Open Enrollment Period at Get Covered New Jersey Begins November 1, 2022
  • Historic Levels of Financial Help Remain Available for the Upcoming Year, Following Federal Inflation Reduction Act Signing 

TRENTON — The New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance today announced it is accepting applications for community organizations to serve as Navigators to assist residents with health insurance enrollment for the upcoming Open Enrollment Period and during 2023. The department is making available a total of $5 million in grant funding for Navigators in an effort to ensure enrollment assistance is available in the community for residents seeking coverage through Get Covered New Jersey, the state’s official health insurance marketplace, during the Open Enrollment Period that starts November 1, 2022 and throughout the year.

CMS Logo

via the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS):

  • Historic investment of nearly $100 million builds on the Administration’s quadrupling of Navigators last year to help connect people to coverage

 The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), is investing $98.9 million in grant funding to 59 returning Navigator organizations for the 2023 Open Enrollment Period to help consumers navigate enrollment through the Marketplace, Medicaid, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and make health coverage more equitable and accessible to everyone.

CMS Logo

As I explained back in 2018, the Trump Administration seriously gutted the ACA's Navigator program:

The Trump administration is considering cutting funding for ObamaCare outreach groups that help people enroll in coverage, sources say.

An initial proposal by the administration would have cut the funding for the groups, known as "navigators," from $36 million last year to $10 million this year. Sources say that proposal now could be walked back, and it is possible funding could remain the same as last year, but it is unclear where the final number will end up.

...Officials announced it would cut funding from $63 million down to $36 million in August 2017, a move that was decried by Democrats.

Thankfully, last summer, the Biden-Harris Administration announced that they were reversing this by massively re-expanding the program including a significant budget increase:

CMS Logo

via CMS:

The Biden-Harris Administration is expanding the number of Navigator organizations to help people enroll in coverage through the Marketplace, Medicaid, or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) in 30 states with a Federally-Facilitated Marketplace. Through $80 million in grant awards for the 2022 plan year, 60 Navigator awardee organizations will be able to train and certify more than 1,500 Navigators to help uninsured consumers find affordable and comprehensive health coverage.

CMS Logo

CMS is targeting specific populations more closely in order to reduce racial healthcare coverage inequality:

Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra announced commitments from national organizations to support Black American outreach and enrollment efforts during the Special Enrollment Period (SEP) made available on HealthCare.gov by President Biden due to the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency. Black Americans represent roughly 13% of the U.S. population but 16% of the uninsured.

As part of the Black American Week of Action, April 25 – May 1, HHS and its partnership organizations will combine social media efforts to inform Black American consumers and spur enrollment in affordable, quality health plans through HealthCare.gov. An estimated 66% of Black uninsured adults now may have access to a zero-premium plan and 76% may be able to find a low-premium plan as a result of expanded coverage.

CMS Logo

This was actually announced last week, but I was mainly focused on the 2021 OEP enrollment report at the time:

Today, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that to continue its efforts to increase access to enrollment assistance for consumers, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will make $80 million available in grants to Navigators in Federal Marketplaces for the 2022 plan year. The funding, which will be used for outreach and education efforts, is the largest allocation CMS has made available for Navigator grants to date and represents an eight fold increase in funding from the previous year. CMS invested $10 million annually in the Navigator program beginning with funding awarded in 2018 for the 2019 plan year. CMS awarded $36.2 million in 2017 for the 2018 plan year, down from a high of $63 million awarded in 2016 for the 2017 plan year.

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