This week MHP Salud received notification of refunding for the Navigator program for a second year from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services.
The program employs Community Health Workers (CHWs) as bilingual educators and assistants for Latinos seeking health insurance through the new Marketplace in south Texas.
Program Director Cliff Clark led a robust campaign of door-to-door outreach, interviews for print, radio and TV media outlets, a billboard display and Social Media sites on Facebook and Twitter. MHP Salud’s navigators provided in-person services in several sites in Texas’ Lower Rio Grande Valley during the Open and Special Enrollment Periods. Through their hard work, the Navigator team witnessed real change.
“I saw that through the efforts of all organizations involved with Navigator programs, the community became more informed every day,” said CHW Navigator Dinorah Martinez. “I see a positive way forward in this process that will take some time to engage, but it will result in consumers being able to access and register for health insurance in a more appropriate way.”
Though the program saw great success in helping nearly 1,000 consumers apply for health insurance, Navigators also faced challenges. An unpredictable political atmosphere and changing regulations in the face of the new health insurance enrollment system led to confusion in consumers.
“There was a lot of misinformation during the special enrollment period,” said CHW Navigator Esmeralda Carreon. “We had the chance to better inform the consumers about the health coverage through the Marketplace.”
Equipped with another year of funding, Cliff is looking optimistically to the next Open Enrollment Period this November.
“I am excited to be able to help even more people in our community get health insurance for possibly the first time in their lives. I am also looking forward to seeing some familiar faces coming back to see us to go over the renewal process of their current plans we assisted them with during the last open enrollment cycle,” he said. “It will be really cool to see how they’re doing and how their situation has changed for the better.”
During the last grant period (Oct 2013 -March 2014), the Navigators:
- Reached 7,999 consumers in the Rio Grande Valley (RGV) through community meetings, presentations, distribution of materials and direct Navigator services
- Hosted or participated in 74 community outreach and education events
- Assisted with more than 889 enrollment applications through the Health Insurance Marketplace or paper application; at least 1,584 individuals and their families were represented in this process.
- An additional 6,555 individuals were reached through social media (Facebook + Twitter)
- MHP and MHP’s Navigator Program were mentioned by major media outlets including the New York Times, the Texas Tribune, and McAllen Monitor. We were also interviewed by local Rio Grande Valley Channel 4 News.
- MHP successfully received its Entity Registration as a Navigator Service Provider through the Texas Department of Insurance (February 19, 2014). All 8 MHP Navigators were also successfully registered with Texas Department of Insurance as Navigator Service Providers.
- We have trained and certified 16 MHP Staff and Managers as Navigators though the CMS
- Navigator Training; we currently have 7 active Navigators including one Program Coordinator and one Program Manager.
- All MHP Navigators and Navigator Program Staff completed six days of additional TX specific Navigator training provided by Texas Legal Services and passed their testing component on the first try.
- All Active MHP Navigators and Navigator Program Staff meet current CMS and TX Department of Insurance requirements to provide Navigator Services.
Learn more about the program here.