The federal government is preparing to implement more portions of the Affordable Care Act.
In the first of a two-part series, Ohio Public Radio's Andy Chow examines the navigators who will be designated to help guide people through the policies.
If you don’t understand every aspect of the federal Affordable Care Act… you’re not alone. That’s why lawmakers… expecting the possibility of confusion… created funding for navigators… people who will help guide consumers as they look for the insurance that will work best for them.
These navigators are different from the typical insurance agent or broker. They’re not allowed to sell or promote any insurance plan over another they’re just there to answer questions.
Different groups and associations have applied to implement a navigator program. And in the next few weeks the federal government is expected to announce which organizations will receive funding.
That’s when the state of Ohio steps in to make sure these navigators are certified.
Lieutenant Governor Mary Taylor… who also heads the Ohio Department of Insurance… has strongly criticized the Affordable Care Act. But she says she understands the importance of properly training these navigators.
Taylor: “We want to make sure they are—you know—held to high standards, they are knowledgeable, have the kind of information or understand the type of information they’re going to be explaining to consumers.”
Ohio lawmakers passed a bill earlier this year that created the certification process… the legislation included a mandatory background check. Taylor says it’s the kind of screening that would be expected of any insurance agent.
Taylor: “Because these individuals are going to be—have close contact and close relationships with individuals in their own homes or at various community events and we want to make sure that these individuals—that we do what we can at the Department of Insurance to protect consumers.”
Navigators are part of the Affordable Care Act’s outreach effort. According to Taylor… their exact role in Ohio hasn’t been completely defined.
The lieutenant governor added that the state has certain regulations in place where the department of insurance can revoke certification in the event of any wrongdoing by a navigator.
Andy Chow at the Ohio Public Radio Statehouse News Bureau.