Will Navigators and Translators Clean Up Under ObamaCare?
News Update: Glitches in the Healthcare.gov website have created more job openings for Navigators. Furthermore, the strange failure to launch a Spanish-language version of the site means that there are openings for bilingual healtcare navigators. Under the Affordable Care Act, a large core of new government employees known as Navigators have been hired under state exchanges in order to help people fill out the form, which has up to 1000 questions, showing whether they qualify for subsidies under the healtcare act.
A good deal of information is needed for people who want to show their eligibility for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. Some of that information may be harder to come by, since some questions include the email address of your company's health care offical, and it is possible that you work for such a small firm that no person fits the bill. There are also a lot of questions designed to filter out people who may end up over the limit.
California hiring up to 21,000 Navigators.
Read the manual to familiarize yourself with the work. Despite the fact that many states have been cutting positions ever since the start of the Great Recession, the chance for high paying employment is improving thanks to the provision for the hiring of Navigators and translators, since the law provides for translation of any language used by non-native speakers, and this means that an interpreter may need to be on standby for the application process.
Training and Employment Opportunities
Naturally, there will need to be a fair amount of training for Obamacare Navigators, since the process of filling out the actual application is complicated. In fact, the application is designed to determine whether a person qualifies for just about any other private or public health plan before they can get coverage under the Affordable Care Act. A Navigator will have to have training in taxes as well as insurance in order to figure out if someone has a requisite income level that allows for eligibility. Part of the process also involves determining whether a person, parent, or spouse could provide the coverage under an existing plan, whether the plan is affordable, etc.
How many jobs will be created for Navigators? Estimates would seem to put the total number of new jobs at over one hundred thousand public sector jobs, paying between $18 and $40 per hour, though this means that there will need to be specialists, middle managers, and career employees who may make more.
Many of these healthcare exchanges created by states already have plans in place for navigators, but several states have opted out of creating their own exchange and therefore the immediate job prospects are murky at best in those states. However, the federal government is expected to take over the exchange and Healthcare Marketplace in these regions, and once again it will need navigators to help the low information people who are looking to get healthcare, and may have expected it to be free. Instead, the process of applying will root out any hidden income, seasonal employment, subsidies, and other state, tribal, federal, and local employment that may be able to offer insurance in lieu of the Affordable Care Act. While it is possible for a family of four that makes less than $92,000 a year to get subsidies under the plan, the process of applying without a navigator may be so onerous that people may choose to avoid getting healthcare and paying the fine for failure to comply. Even with government-trained navigators, it will be necessary to determine whether an available healthcare plan meets the standards of the act, so you may need to ditch your old plan to qualify for one sold under the exchange, and even if you like the plan you have, you are going to have to switch if you want the subsidy.
People looking to become healthcare navigators under Obamacare are going to have to learn to be patient, and how to communicate with people who may have little knowledge of their own financial situation. The current version of the form advises people to submit information even if it is incomplete, but navigators may not have the luxury of collecting incomplete data, especially when a missing 1099 or W2 form could disqualify individuals from the plan. A new piece of news about healthcare navigators is that they don't necessarily need background checks to get employment. This has created a bit of controversy given that in-person assistants as well as their supervisors, who have access to social security numbers and personal data, may have felony convictions for identity theft.
The March 31, 2014 deadline for open enrollment will not signal the end of all positions when it comes to helping people sign up under the ACA. Volunteer organizations and state agencies expect to keep signing people up as they become eligible, especially since the number of actual applications has fallen short of the published goal. This means that there are still people out there who may pay a fine for not signing up, and may come back next year.