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Last year, we highlighted how the Administration cut funding for Affordable Care Act (ACA) outreach and enrollment assistance. They are at it again. This week it was reported that the Administration is slashing even more funding for organizations called “navigators” that assist people who need health insurance. The Washington Post reports that for the upcoming enrollment period the funding for navigators will be cut from $36.8 million to $10 million. This is on top of the huge cuts navigators faced last year, and the 90% cut for overall ACA advertising and outreach.

To make matters even worse, organizations that apply for the navigator grants will be “expected” to promote inadequate insurance such as Association Health Plans and short-term plans. As the Post states “Until now, the grants have been used only to help people choose and buy ACA health plans or to help steer people with low incomes toward Medicaid.” To push navigators to promote junk insurance that will drive up premiums, weaken critical consumer protections and won’t cover basic health care services is unconscionable.

We call on the Administration to fully fund navigators, restore funding for outreach and enrollment assistance, and provide consumers with the assistance they need during the coming open enrollment period.   

July 12, 2018 – B. Belton

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