Trump Administration Guts Funding to ACA’s Navigator Program
July 16, 2018
The Trump administration’s massive cuts to the ACA’s Navigator Program, which helps people sign up for insurance, will make it harder for people across the country to find affordable health care coverage. Last week, Navigator groups learned their funding would be cut by more than 70 percent, and states across the country are already bracing for impact.
In North Carolina, navigators who helped nearly 520,000 residents sign up for health insurance this year will be harder to find after Trump’s funding cuts.
The News & Observer: Trump agency slashes funds to NC groups that help people get health insurance under ACA
“They are the public face of the Affordable Care Act in North Carolina for legions of residents stumped by the complexities of health insurance. But next year, ACA navigators — the trained instructors who explain health benefits and help people enroll — will be harder to find as a result of federal funding cuts … In North Carolina, which has consistently had some of the nation’s highest enrollments, the navigator budget will be cut by 85 percent — from $3.4 million to $500,000.”
In Florida, Trump’s cuts to the state’s navigators could create health disparities by making it harder for vulnerable populations to sign up for health care.
Orlando Sentinel: Obamacare navigator money cut by 70%
“After weeks of uncertainty, Obamacare navigators learned Tuesday that the Trump administration was cutting their funding by more than 70 percent, affecting dozens of states that have the programs to help people sign up for plans in the health insurance marketplace.
“‘It's disappointing,’ said Anne Packham, project director for the Marketplace Navigators for Central Florida. ‘We won't be able to have the personnel to go to the hard-to-reach areas and reach the vulnerable populations.’”
In Georgia, federal funding for the state’s navigators will “drop dramatically” after Trump’s cuts and reduce access to in-person enrollment assistance.
Georgia Health News: Federal Funding For ACA ‘Navigators’ To Drop Dramatically In Georgia
“The White House is again slashing funds for the ‘navigators’ who help enroll people in the Affordable Care Act insurance exchanges.
“The cuts will almost certainly reduce the in-person assistance provided to Georgians seeking an exchange health plan for next year.
“Macon-based Community Health Works, which oversees a navigator program in the state, said Wednesday that the federal navigator funding for the upcoming year’s enrollment for Georgia will be $500,000 – about one-third of the 2018 exchange total. The cuts will especially affect enrollment of hard-to-reach populations, experts said.”
In the Quad Cities of Iowa and Illinois, consumers likely won’t have access to enrollment services that were previously supported by the federal government.
Quad-City Times: Funding cuts could challenge health insurance enrollment in Quad-Cities, rest of Iowa
“Enrollment for health insurance in the Affordable Care Act marketplace begins soon, and eastern Iowa/western Illinois consumers likely will not have access to enrollment services previously supported by the federal government.
“The Trump administration announced this week it will slash grants to organizations that answer questions and help people sign up for the Obama-era program.
“Funding for these experts, called ‘navigators,’ will be cut from $36.8 million last fall to $10 million for the six-week enrollment period that begins Nov. 1, marking the second major reduction in two years. The government provided $62.5 million to insurance counselors in late 2016.”
In Pennsylvania, total navigator funding will drop almost 80% as a result of Trump’s cuts.
“Getting help signing up for health insurance through healthcare.gov will be harder this year.
“Navigators are trained and funded federally to help people through the process of enrolling. The Trump administration announced Tuesday that it’s cutting the program’s funding to $10 million nationwide, down from $36 million last year and $62.5 million in 2016.
“Total navigator funding available to Pennsylvania organizations will drop almost 80 percent, from about $1.9 million last year to $400,000 this year, according to Antoinette Kraus.”