LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) - Local hospitals are adding certified Affordable Care Act navigators to help the uninsured with their questions about the law. The federal government has hailed certified navigators as the most effective people to talk to with questions about so-called Obamacare.
Much has been made about the maligned roll out of the Affordable Care Act insurance exchange website, healthcare.gov. Although the federal exchange opened October 1, thousands of users across the country report having trouble with the website. Some have trouble entering their information, others can't even get that far.
It's these questions that keep certified navigators busy.
"Within the last week to two weeks the volume of questions and patients coming in has started to increase dramatically," said Brittany Lovejoy-Haynes, a certified navigator at Riggs Community Health in Lafayette.
Lovejoy-Haynes said she, along with her two certified counterparts at Riggs, are the only navigators certified to help people with the exchanges in Tippecanoe County.
Other navigators in the area are certified to help people enroll in Medicaid, which was expanded under the Affordable Care Act, but only the very poor qualify for Medicaid coverage.
In White County, IU White Memorial is training several staff members to be certified navigators.
"We are also in the process of certifying two additional navigators who will be able to provide that same assistance so in the end we'll have a total of three," said Stephanie Long, C.E.O. of IU White Memorial in Monticello.
For many of the uninsured trying to enroll in insurance plans set up by the exchange, the process can be confusing.
Lovejoy-Haynes said it's important to have a certified navigator there to help because of the rigorous testing they must go through.
"We had to go through a whole training process which was three days in a classroom being educated about Medicaid and the health insurance marketplace," said Lovejoy-Haynes.
Every certified navigator must also undergo a background check, submit conflict of interest forms and take a written test.
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