16 April 2013
Not all health insurance brokers in Los Angeles can buy a tour bus and embark on journeys into uninsured waters educating and enrolling consumers in affordable, quality health insurance plans. Covered California, the state's Exchange has plans to do just that. And before you ask, the bus will be neither magical nor driven by Miss Frizzle.
While formulating plans for 2013, Covered California courted Hollywood to unleash the "Groove Mobile", a modern message machine which comes in the form of a tour bus packed with bubbly, energized, educated Navigators and Assisters. Who are Navigators and Assisters and why are they so excitable? Before you ask, let’s make sure we know what Exchanges are.
Exchanges are programs set up in each state which will educate and reach out to all consumers, specifically uninsured and small business owners, so they may enroll in high-quality, affordable health insurance plans. Each state must operate an Exchange for the public by October 1st. While open enrollment begins then, Obamacare (Affordable Care Act) changes that affect most Americans won’t take place until January 1st, 2014.
Navigators are trained by Exchange to inform and "navigate" uninsured Americans on healthcare reform. Essentially they plot out territories to infiltrate and bombard neighborhoods with flyers, applications, and handouts in order to rally up and find the best health insurance plans for everyone in sight.
Assisters in California are pretty much exactly the same as Navigators, except for how they're paid. Assisters are paid per enrollment. If they complete an application, enrolling a consumer in a state-run Exchange, the Assister makes $58. Navigators are compensated based off "performance-based block funding". Basically they're given goals to reach and compensated based off how many applications are completed in their outreach territories. More details will be released by Covered California in coming months.
Interested in becoming a Navigator or Assister? The only requirements are that you complete a background check, complete a 6 hour course in healthcare reform, and work under a non-profit entity. Insurance brokers are not eligible, most likely because they’ll already know the ins and outs of healthcare reform by the time Assister and Navigator training begins August and November, respectively.