California Healthline: HHS To Unveil Grant Distribution for Navigator Program Next Week

HHS is preparing to announce next week how it will distribute $54 million in grants through the Affordable Care Act’s insurance exchange “navigator” program, Modern Healthcare reports (Lee,Modern Healthcare, 8/8). According to the Wall Street Journal, the announcement is expected on Aug. 15, which leaves “just 32 business days” for officials in nearly three dozen states to hire and train thousands of workers (Schatz, Wall Street Journal, 8/7).

Background on the Navigator Program

Under the ACA, exchanges that will be operated solely by or in partnership with the federal government are required to have at least two certified navigator entities, one of which must be a not-for-profit. HHS has allocated $54 million in funding grants to train and pay navigators in the 37 states with federally run exchanges.

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.” They also must provide additional assistance to:

  • Consumers with disabilities, limited proficiency in English; or
  •  Consumers who are unfamiliar with health insurance.

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