Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Navigator...No Fueling Required...

 I recently posted a video regarding this topic (click here to view) but wanted to provide additional comments in this blog. The point and purpose of the navigator program is to reach the under-served lower income and non-English speaking consumers in communities that have not been reached by agents and brokers in the past. The lack of contact by agents and brokers is directly related to affordability. Obviously it is difficult to enroll someone in health insurance coverage if they do not have the money to pay for it.

Colorado is  expected to increase medicaid eligibility to 133% of federal poverty level. This will give navigators an estimated 160,000 residents to find and provide information on government assisted health plans. In addition they will engage others to determine any premium or cost share subsidy they may be eligible for and direct them to enrollment in the individual health insurance exchange.

Grant applications for navigator organizations were due last week. The Colorado exchange was expecting  11 or more organizations to apply. Once the grants are released they will go about the training process to educate these navigators in the subsidy process as well as the plans available in the exchange. These folks will NOT be licensed to enroll anyone for insurance coverage. Nor will they be allowed to recommend a particular plan of benefits.They will however be more "boots on the street" to ensure that all residents get the opportunity to have medical coverage. In Colorado it is likely navigators will be referred to as application assisters or something along that line. One thing they won't be is long on experience.

A recent article I read in the New York Times indicates that of the alleged 30 million uninsured Americans, the feds believe 14 million will gain coverage next year. Well that may be easier said than done. I mentioned in my last video that California will be looking for around 21,000 navigators. That seems reasonable, as long as they have folks to speak 10 plus languages and cover 163,000 miles of real estate. Good luck with that.

I had an interesting comment from my brother after the last video went out. He asked  "Is the creation of these navigators going to create a whole new kingdom for some people at taxpayers expense?" My goodness older brothers are really smart.