Navigators and Open Enrollment
The help is especially crucial during high demand periods like open enrollment, which runs from November 1 to December 15th. At this time, anyone who qualifies can enroll in a health insurance plan. Outside of open enrollment, individuals can only enroll during special enrollment periods if they experience certain life events like having a baby, getting married or losing other health coverage.
Navigator outreach is critical in these months for the many families that don’t have any health insurance and for those that are at risk of losing theirs because of misinformation about the deadlines or the application process.
During the first open enrollment weekend, Navigators step up to ensure families don’t miss the application deadline. Their biggest outreach effort is a feature on the local news. Navigators are interviewed by news anchors and allowed to give insight on the program and share contact information. Furthermore, the Navigators make themselves available to take calls during the broadcast. The feature helps spread awareness throughout many communities at once leading to an influx in the number of individuals and families the Navigators serve.
Additionally, Navigators take the time to call individuals and families they already have established connections with to remind them about open enrollment. Many of the individuals also receive tax information on marketplace exemptions and help with health insurance related tax forms.
Many of our families are at risk of losing their health insurance because they don’t fully understand the consequences of missing the open enrollment deadline. Therefore, we ramp up our outreach efforts in the month of October, before the start of Open Enrollment. Our Navigators have deep connections within their communities. It makes them passionate about the work they do. They conduct outreach door to door, make a lot of phone calls and speak at public events. The Navigators are happy to extend their working hours if it means they can help more families. They want to ensure that people get as much information as possible about the application process and even health insurance taxes. And for those families who don’t qualify, the Navigators make every effort to help them enroll in other programs like Medicaid and the CHIP (the Children’s Health Insurance Program). You don’t find that kind of dedication often.
Navigators Have High Rates of Success Getting Families Accepted into Health Insurance Programs Throughout the Year
After open enrollment, Navigators continue to remain accessible to all individuals within their communities. They situate themselves in places like community centers, schools, hospitals, and even churches. This positioning helps people feel safe and comfortable while seeking application assistance. Additionally, having Navigators in these easily recognizable places allows them to help more individuals with their health insurance and easily refer individuals to resources available on site.
Proof of the success of the Navigator program lies in the fact that nearly 80% of the adults with children who used our application assistance services in 2018 were approved for Medicaid. The success rate is promising for the Hispanic community, as they have the highest uninsured rates (19%) among the nonelderly population.4
With coverage loss expected to grow in underinsured communities, the existence of Navigator programs is essential so that low-income and Spanish-speaking families can gain access to health insurance.
Learn more about the Community Health Worker Model and how it is successfully utilized within the Navigator Program.
MHP Salud has over 35 years of experience implementing CHW programs and training organizations looking to start and/or strengthen their own CHW programs. For more information about MHP Salud, our services, and how we can help you, please email us at email@example.com.