Sacramento Business Journal: Report: Covered California’s big enrollment masks problems

California’s health insurance exchange to move to a new navigator system

Covered California deserves credit for strong enrollment in its first year, but must fix serious deficiencies in its outreach and enrollment efforts, a new study finds.

Enrollment lagged for Californians with limited English proficiency. There were cultural and linguistic problems. Funding was inadequate, given the amount of work enrollment counselors had to do, concludes a study by the Berkeley-basedGreenlining Institute.

One recommendation in the study is to make sure outreach and enrollment activities are better coordinated and those who do the work get adequate funding to do it right.

Some of those problems may be resolved with Covered California’s shift to a navigator program that brings together outreach, education and enrollment assistance.

In the past, outreach and education was paid for by exchange grants to community-based organizations and others through “certified educators.” Then came certified enrollment entities and counselors who helped consumer sign up.

The navigator program brings these two sides together in what is hoped to be a more efficient approach.

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