Health Insurance Exchange Navigators – What Are They?

A whole new world of health insurance confusion will shortly be opening up for many Americans as ObamaCare goes live. Some will be getting insurance for the first time. Others will have had insurance before but will be trying to find something cheaper or more tailored to their needs. No matter what your level of experience is with health care insurance, the new marketplaces are going to be hard to “navigate” for many.

That is what the ObamaCare navigators are all about: helping ordinary citizens from every state understand, shop for, and buy health insurance once the exchanges go live on October 1, 2013. At least that is what the goal is.

Federal Grants To Educate Navigators

The federal government (DHHS) is chipping in more than 54 million dollars to help educate and train navigators in all the states that will be using the federal health insurance marketplace or partnering with it. Right now that stands at 34 states. The remaining 16 states that have chosen to start their own exchanges are on their own in terms of paying for and training navigators. In all, it is estimated that it will take tens of thousands of navigators in order to get ObamaCare successfully off the ground.

Who Will The Navigators Be?

It is important that anyone who is a health insurance exchange navigator be unbiased as well as knowledgable. After all, these are the people that will be guiding everyone through the often murky waters of health insurance. Health care in America is one of the most confusing things people will ever have to deal with and it is often very hard to understand what you are and are not getting with each plan. It will be up to the navigators to explain in plain English what a person’s options are and help them figure out what might be the best plan for them. This is a tall order indeed.

For the federal exchange, insurance navigators can be self employed people or they can work for different organizations. Those could be churches, unions, tribal groups, clinics, coalitions, and many other types of organizations. They will have to be trained and pass exams designed to make sure they understand the material, are impartial, and have good customer service. The training will be done online and the pay has been reported to be from about $20 to $48 per hour depending on different factors and the specific job description.

How Important Are The Navigators To ObamaCare?

The success of The Affordable Care Act and the new insurance marketplaces hinges on the competence and professionalism of these new navigators. They will be the middleman between a lot of people stressing over health care and the insurance companies who are offering different plans. They will be the face of the ACA, ObamaCare, and the new health insurance exchanges so they must earn people’s trust. If the navigators don’t do their job and do it well, it will be a public relations nightmare for the Obama Administration.

Such a monumental overhaul of something as important as health care will have an extreme amount of challenges. The navigators will be at the forefront of the new exchanges and it will undoubtedly be a difficult job at the beginning. They need to get people signed up in order for the whole system to work but they can’t cut corners and must be well versed in all the different situations prospective customers will present to them.