The Corner

Illinois, Florida Having Trouble With Obamacare Navigators

The “navigators” intended to help market Obamacare’s new insurance exchanges could be in short supply in some states tomorrow when the marketplaces open.

Illinois’s health-insurance marketplace said that it had only certified 100 of the planned 1,200 navigators by this past Saturday, but hoped to have “hundreds more” ready by Tuesday. Most Illinois navigators have completed their state training and background checks, but the online system that they use to complete the required federal training only recently became available, a situation which is, according to spokeswoman Kelly Sullivan, “not unique to Illinois.”

In Florida, as of last Wednesday, only 11 of roughly 150 navigators had received their state-level licenses to assist people in signing up for that state’s exchange, and only 57 had even applied for it. According to coordinators for the program, at the University of South Florida and the Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County, the delay is due to the federal online training system’s being crash-prone.

In states that declined to set up exchanges on their own, such as Florida, the Department of Health and Human Services has disbursed $67 million in federal grants to hire navigators and certified 105 organizations as partners. Navigators will be paid to help people signing up for their state’s health-insurance exchange, which will be open from tomorrow, October 1, through March 31, 2014. 

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