Signing up for health insurance can seem daunting, especially for many uninsured Americans, but in communities across the country, local outreach leaders have been making it possible for people to get in-person help, get covered, and stay covered.
We’ve just heard encouraging news about the future of one of those sources of in-person assistance — the federal Navigator program. The upcoming cycle of federal Navigator grants will be awarded for three years rather than one year!
This might seem as though it’s a minor, technical change, but it could make a big difference for Navigators and consumers in states with federally facilitated or partnership marketplaces.
By having longer-term grant awards, Navigators will now be able to make longer-term plans and expect greater programmatic stability. And consumers can count on those Navigator organizations to stay embedded in their communities — for example, they can know where to go every year when they need to renew their plan or consider new options.
The Navigator program was designed to make it possible for consumers to get enrollment help from places they already trust and are already familiar with. And this news means that Navigator organizations, including food banks and legal aid associations, can become even more recognized in their communities as go-to health coverage resources.
You can get the details from CMS here — including how grantees will have year-long budget periods and will submit regular progress reports.
Next up from CMS is the official funding opportunity announcement (FOA), which will likely be available early-to-mid-summer. The FOA will include information about available funding and requirements for assister training in states with a federally facilitated or partnership marketplace.
In the next few months, we also hope to learn whether CMS is moving forward with recommendations from Enroll America and other national groups on improving the consumer enrollment experience, such as giving assisters hands-on training with the marketplace application in advance of open enrollment so that they can effectively and efficiently support individuals seeking in-person help.
At Enroll America, we’ll continue to closely follow updates on promising practices for in-person assistance programs of all stripes. And we look forward to continuing to work with the assistance community to connect even more Americans to coverage!
For example: Is your in-person assistance organization featured on the Get Covered Connector? Check out our embeddable digital tool consumers can use to find enrollment help near their ZIP code, and learn more about how you can join the Connector!