Biden-Harris Administration Quadruples the Number of Health Care Navigators Ahead of HealthCare.gov Open Enrollment Period
Cross-posted from CMS newsroom
In largest-ever investment in the program, CMS is awarding $80 million to support Navigators in ensuring health coverage access to underserved populations
The Biden-Harris Administration is expanding the number of Navigator organizations to help people enroll in coverage through the Marketplace, Medicaid, or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) in 30 states with a Federally-Facilitated Marketplace. Through $80 million in grant awards for the 2022 plan year, 60 Navigator awardee organizations will be able to train and certify more than 1,500 Navigators to help uninsured consumers find affordable and comprehensive health coverage.
The Navigator awardees include community and consumer-focused non-profits, faith-based organizations, hospitals, trade and professional associations, and tribes or tribal organizations. Navigators help families and other underserved communities gain access to health coverage options through the Marketplace, Medicaid, or CHIP. They can assist with enrollment applications and help consumers receive financial assistance through HealthCare.gov. With the additional funding, more Navigator organizations can provide assistance to people with limited English proficiency in multiple languages. They can also provide more assistance to rural areas and communities of color.
“Our local partners are crucial in helping people get covered. By expanding our pool of Navigators, we will reach more underserved communities, and grow our network of trusted experts who can help people across the country navigate their health care options,” said U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra. “Thanks to President Biden, health care is more affordable than ever on HealthCare.gov – and with this historic investment, we’ll be making it even easier for people to enroll in coverage through the Marketplace, Medicaid, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program.”
“Local health coverage experts have worked hard to build relationships and trust in the communities in which they serve. These Navigators consistently help consumers understand their options, helping with potential language and other barriers, so they can find health coverage that best fits their needs,” said CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure. “With this additional grant funding, even more Navigators will be able to provide comprehensive assistance through customized educational and outreach activities, especially to underserved communities.”
The 2021 Navigator awardees will focus on outreach to particularly underserved communities. Awardees will focus on outreach to people who identify as racial and ethnic minorities, people in rural communities, the LGBTQ+ community, American Indians and Alaska Natives, refugee and immigrant communities, low-income families, pregnant women and new mothers, people with transportation or language barriers or lacking internet access, veterans, and small business owners.
The 2021 Navigator awards are for a 36-month period of performance, funded in 12-month increments known as budget periods. This multi-year funding structure is designed to provide greater consistency for Navigator awardee organizations, reducing yearly start-up time and allowing more efficient use of grant funds.
Navigator grant applicants were asked to detail their outreach and enrollment efforts to the underserved or vulnerable population(s), while still assisting other consumers. The 2021 Navigator awardees must comply with the terms and conditions of the award, including submission of regular reports to CMS documenting their progress and activities. CMS will work closely with the awardees to ensure they are meeting these goals.