The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced an additional $60 million in funding for the 2014-2015 Navigator program in the federally-run and partnership Marketplaces.
The Navigator program is intended to to help consumers understand health insurance, the Health Insurance Marketplace, qualified health plans, and public programs including Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program.
Last year, CMS granted $67 million worth of funding for Navigators.
The funding opportunity announcement is open to eligible individuals, as well as private and public entities, applying to serve as Navigators in states with a federally-run or state-federal partnership Marketplace.
Those who wish to be a Navigator for the 2015 enrollment cycle, even those who were Navigators in 2014, have to apply before July 10, 2014.
Additionally, final regulations were released on May 27th finalizing the rules for the Marketplaces for 2014-2015. According to CMS:
Navigators will now be required to maintain a physical presence in the Marketplace service area, so that face-to-face assistance can be provided to consumers.
Navigator grant applicants will be encouraged to perform background checks for all Navigator staff that will be handling sensitive or personally identifiable information (PII).
In addition to quarterly and annual reporting, Navigators will be required to submit weekly and monthly progress reports to CMS detailing their progress and activities in their target communities.
The role of the Navigator has been controversial, especially in Producer community. And, a recent survey showed that consumers think Brokers and Agents are the most helpful Marketplace resource.
Do you think the Navigator program is effective? Or, should the federal government be investing in Producers instead?
To read CMS's announcement, click here.