Question: I attended a panel discussion recently that included Peter Lee, Executive Director of Covered California. He referred to “assisters” as well as navigators. What are assisters? Are they same as navigators?
Answer: In California, Navigators and Assisters are essentially the same thing. Their roles and responsibilities are virtually the same. Both Eligible Navigators or IPAs must be affiliated with an Assister Enrollment Entity. The difference is in how they are compensated. Assisters are paid a flat-fee of $58 per successful application and $25 per successful annual renewal. Navigator entities are paid for performance-based block funding based on meeting Covered California enrollment targets. However it’s important to note that that it is the enrollment entity that is compensated by Covered California and then the entity in-turn compensates assisters or navigators that are affiliated with it. Assister training and certification will begin in August 2013 so that IPAs are ready to assist with Covered California enrollments beginning October 1, 2013. Navigator certification will not begin until November 2013 because the exchange will need time to conduct an analysis to determine where enrollment assistance gaps occur (geographic areas or targeted market segments) then grants for the Navigator Program will be awarded to enrollment entities to fill-in the gaps. Navigators are expected to begin enrollment assistance in December 2013.