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What are Navigators?

The Navigator position was created by the ACA to provide helpers for people to enroll in coverage through the health insurance exchange, and refer or assist with Medicaid enrollment. Navigators are funded through by the exchanges. (Here are the organizations that received Navigator grants in 2015 in the 34 states that use the federally-facilitated marketplace).

Regulations from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) are clear that anyone who gets payments from insurance companies cannot be a Navigator. Navigators also must meet cultural competency standards and go through training and certification. Starting in 2018, Navigators will provide more ongoing assistance to consumers after the enrollment process is complete.

To add even more help on the ground, there are non-Navigator Assisters (or, In-Person Assistance) as well. Like Navigators, Assisters must meet training and conflict-of-interest standards. They fill in gaps in areas that need more enrollment assistance, or provide outreach and education about the ACA to individuals who have not traditionally had access to health insurance coverage. In the federally-facilitated marketplace, non-Navigator assisters must complete the same training as Navigators.

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