O-Care '15: CMS spends $60M on navigators

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The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) said Tuesday it will spend at least $60 million on ObamaCare navigators for the 2015 enrollment period.

Navigators are counselors who help consumers register for plans under federal and state health insurance exchanges.

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“Navigators have been an important resource for the millions of Americans who enrolled in coverage in 2014,” said CMS administrator Marilyn Tavenner. “This funding ensures this work will continue next year, including during the open enrollment period for the Marketplaces.”

According to CMS, navigators will be required to have a physical presence in the marketplaces they serve so consumers can have face-to-face interactions.

Companies that are approved to receive funds will be asked to do background checks on their navigator staff because they will be handling sensitive patient data.

Besides annual and quarterly reports navigators are already required to submit, they will also be required to present weekly and monthly progress reports to CMS on how they are interacting with their communities.

Navigators who want to get a piece of the pie have until July 10 to apply for the grant.