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Health Care Insurance Navigators

History

The job of the health care insurance navigator was created as a result of federal statute. It came into existence in March, 2010, when the U.S.  Congress passed the Affordable Care Act (ACA)and President Barack Obama signed it into law. The ACA is nicknamed “Obamacare,” and it caused much heated political debate. It remains a source of ongoing controversy, both with respect to its intent, implementation, and success. The law mandated, among many other things, that all U.S. citizens must buy health insurance or obtain it through an employer or other source. To provide affordable health insurance options, the law allowed for federal and state insurance marketplaces and offered federal subsidies to low-income individuals and families. To ensure compliance, the ACA imposes tax penalties on those who go without health insurance. The system of state health insurance marketplaces, also known as health insurance exchanges, offered individuals without health care insurance information and access to plans for purchase. Due to the complexities of the system, and the available options, a significant aspect of the law required the establishment of “navigator” programs to assist consumers in purchasing coverage. These programs resulted in the creation of health insurance navigators, workers tasked with the specific role of helping people understand their options and assisting them with enrollment in qualified health insurance plans. 

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