As the administration works toward fixing healthcare.gov, there is another crucial part of the health insurance marketplace enrollments that hasn’t received a lot of attention – navigators. As it was widely expected, navigators have played a large role in helping people enroll. With the system experiencing issues, more people than expected have turned to the navigators for help.
Unfortunately for the navigators, there were some unforeseen issues that are hampering the ability of the navigators to do their job.
- The glitches with healthcare.gov have slowed the process down. Navigators are facing several challenges in enrolling people, and a buggy site is just one of them. People are not fully educated on the law and its requirements so the navigators are spending a lot of time on education.
- Since the online enrollments have been problematic, consumers are flocking to the navigators for paper enrollments. While this is definitely a solution to the online enrollment problem, it is not efficient. The paper applications are cumbersome and long, and require a lot of effort and time.
- The limited funding coupled with the increased pressure and responsibilities on the exchange navigator program have dramatically stressed the new program.
However, navigators have a plan of attack. As they wait for the debugging of healthcare.gov, they are focusing efforts on education and driving excitement among the general public. They are informing state residents on healthcare reform, encouraging residents to elicit help from the nonprofit navigator organizations and informing residents on the basic requirements and information needed to enable faster enrollments.
On the online front, progress is being made. Several bugs have been fixed allowing navigators to get several applications through the system this past week. Between now and end of November, most navigators will be utilizing paper applications and hoping for speedy resolution of the healthcare.gov site.