Health insurance “navigators” gaining attention

Health Insurance Navigators

Health Insurance NavigatorsHealth insurance through exchanges could lead to consumer confusion and misunderstanding

Several states throughout the U.S. are working toward developing their own health insurance exchanges, per the Affordable Care Act. State lawmakers have been pressuring the federal government to supply them with more guidance concerning these exchange programs, but such guidance has yet to come in force. A new problem is emerging for health insurance exchanges that could add more urgency to the matter, however. As consumers begin to enroll in these programs, the threat of confusion and misunderstanding concerning certain policies may become a major problem.

Consumers may need guidance when it comes to exchanges

An estimated 30 million consumers are expected to receive health insurance coverage throughout the U.S. as they enroll in health insurance exchanges. These consumers will have access to a vast assortment of insurance policies from a multitude of different insurance companies. Some state officials are beginning to grow concerned over the matter of confusion, as consumers are likely to be initially overwhelmed by the options they have through each exchange program.

Navigators can help consumers find the right health insurance policies

Health insurance “navigators” are, therefore, gaining more attention. These people are actually part of the Affordable Care Act. The federal law tasks states with recruiting navigators to mitigate any potential confusion that such exchanges may introduce to consumers. California has plans to certify more than 21,000 navigators to accomplish this task. Tens of thousands more will be required throughout the country in order to ensure that consumers will find the coverage that is appropriate for their needs.

Navigators are another financial hurdle that lawmakers will have to overcome

There are concerns over the financial aspects of these navigators. Per the federal health care law, the federal government will fund these navigators for the first few months of their service, likely covering the initial enrollment period of a state’s health insurance exchange. After this time, states will need to fund the navigators themselves. During a recent meet with state officials, Colorado Insurance Commissioner Jim Reisberg suggested that the state’s insurance exchange must sign up 150,000 people during its open enrollment period in order to be considered financially viable. The inclusion of health insurance navigators is yet another financial hurdle that states will have to contend with in order for their exchanges to take form.

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