What is a Health Insurance Navigator?
Well the Obama Administration gave the Navigator Program its big thumbs up with a $67 million dollar grant last month so it won’t be long before we all start hearing about Navigators and how they will be spreading the good word about Obamacare. But what exactly is a Health Insurance Navigator and how are they going to help consumers make smart choices about their healthcare?
Navigators have been commissioned by the Obama Administration to provide fair an unbiased advice on the phone and in person to individuals and small businesses regarding coverage in the insurance marketplaces, as well as for public programs including Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program.
This new Navigator position is a government paid advisor that will be available to help individuals and small businesses compare health insurance options in the insurance exchanges. It will be up to each state to determine how their government paid Navigators will assist the public.
Navigators are required to receive 20 hours of online training and will have to pass a test before they can start working. Strangely enough, Navigators are being mostly recruited from non- profit organizations like Planned Parenthood, Catholic Church Organizations, religious groups and not for profit small business associations to help guide people through their choices of healthcare.
I couldn’t help but notice in the announcement from The HHS (Health and Human Services) that Navigators are not allowed to give consumers any advice about which health plan might be right for them. They are permitted to gather all your personal and health information – which we call a “Fact Find” in the industry – but when it comes to offering guidance about which health plan could be a good fit for your situation, they will ultimately let the consumer decide for themselves.
A Slap in the Face to Insurance Brokers by the Obama Administration
According to a recent Forbes article, Navigators will be getting paid $58 for every person that they sign up for health insurance. This is almost double the amount insurance brokers will get paid for the business that they take in.
Many Insurance brokers have been in the insurance business for decades and offer a wide range of experience. Insurance brokers must also be licensed with the state(s) they do business in and certified by the state to participate in the exchange program. Navigators need not bother with experience, training or any certification to sell consumers a health insurance policy. Just a blessing from the Government.