The Corner

A Navigator by Any Other Name

I wrote earlier this week about Connecticut navigators with criminal records.

Kate Gervais, manager of the Connecticut health exchange’s navigator and assistor program, called to suggest further distinction should have been made.

As I’ve noted before, states have many names for the people who help others sign up for Obamacare—“certified application counselors,” “in-person assistors,” “health-care guides,” etc. For the sake of simplicity, I have simply referred to these workers as “navigators,” unless a particular distinction is absolutely necessary.

In Connecticut, Gervais says, “navigators” refer to the six established regional organizations that coordinate enrollment around the state. “Assistors” are the actual people signing Connecticut residents up for health coverage. The felon I reported on earlier this week is technically classified by the state of Connecticut as an “assistor.”

At her request, I add this clarification, though I will continue to use the general “navigator” term when writing for a national audience. Otherwise, stories become too bogged down in bureaucratic vocabulary, obscuring any bigger story. But for anyone who wants to get in the weeds of Connecticut Obamacare policy, there you have it.