Affordable Care Act News: Navigator Final Rule Released

By Marilyn Tavenner

Cross-posted from AIDS.gov

Marilyn TavennerOn July 15, 2013, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) took the next step in moving toward implementation of the Health Insurance Marketplaces by finalizing a proposed rule outlining the standards for Navigators, the in-person assisters in Federally-facilitated and State Partnership Marketplaces. The rule identifies training, conflict of interest standards, and standards for serving people with limited English proficiency and people with disabilities. (Read more about the Marketplaces.)

Millions of Americans will be eligible for new coverage opportunities through the Marketplaces beginning January 2014. Navigators will be available to provide un-biased assistance to consumers about health insurance, the new Health Insurance Marketplaces, qualified health plans, and public programs including Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) as well as assist consumers in enrolling in coverage available through the Health Insurance Marketplaces.

“If individuals request assistance and would like in-person assistance, navigators will be available nationwide when the marketplace opens. Navigators will be trained to play a vital role in fulfilling our commitment to help consumers learn about and apply for quality health insurance when open enrollment for consumers in the Marketplaces begins October 1,” said CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner.
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The rule finalized by CMS will apply to grant awards for Navigators in states with Federally-facilitated and State Partnership Marketplaces. (Click here to find out which your state has.) Those awards are due to be announced on August 15, 2013. Following the awards, CMS intends to release more information about training for Navigators, which will be conducted online by CMS.

Navigators will be important resources to people living with HIV/AIDS and other populations affected by health disparities, helping to increase their access to health care coverage.

Remember! Open enrollment in the Health Insurance Marketplaces begins October 1, 2013, with coverage to begin January 1, 2014.  Be sure to keep up-to-date by visiting the re-vamped www.healthcare.gov website and signing up for e-alerts.