US Spending Another $60M on Obamacare Navigators

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Wednesday, 11 Jun 2014 09:43 AM

By Drew MacKenzie

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The Obama administration will spend another $60 million on Obamacare navigators for the 2015 enrollment period, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has announced.

"Navigators have been an important resource for the millions of Americans who enrolled in coverage in 2014," said CMS administrator Marilyn Tavenner. "This funding ensures this work will continue next year, including during the open enrollment period for the Marketplaces."

The government spent $67 million on grants to healthcare insurance providers who hired navigators during the first enrollment period, during which 8 million Americans applied for coverage, according to The Daily Caller.

Navigators are non-government contractors who help potential consumers to navigate the complicated application process for health insurance at both federal and state marketplaces.
CMS said that 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," as well as providing assistance online and by phone.

The hiring of navigators has become a controversial issue in Congress because they will have access to personal information, leading to grave concerns about identity theft.

Companies who are given navigator funding will be urged by the CMS to perform background checks for all new employees who handle sensitive information about consumers.

In addition to quarterly and annual reporting, navigators will be required by the CMS to submit weekly and monthly progress reports detailing their progress and activities in their target communities.

Healthcare providers have until July 10 to apply for a navigator grant.

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