With ObamaCare health insurance exchanges set to go live on October 1, the federal government is pouring millions of dollars into a program designed to help educate the public about ObamaCare and enroll people in federally-approved health insurance plans. State and national groups are being granted millions of dollars to serve as “Navigators” in this enrollment drive. In Wisconsin, the federal government is set to spend just over $1 million hiring ObamaCare Navigators.
According to HealthCare.gov, the federal website designed to explain ObamaCare, a Navigator is:
An individual or organization that’s trained and able to help consumers, small businesses, and their employees as they look for health coverage options through the Marketplace, including completing eligibility and enrollment forms. These individuals and organizations are required to be unbiased. Their services are free to consumers.
At least six different organizations will serve as part of the federal government’s front-line task force of Navigators in Wisconsin touting the benefits of ObamaCare and making sure people comply with the vast new health insurance regulations. According to the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, CMS, three of the six Navigator contractors in Wisconsin are based in the state, and three of them are from outside of the state. Two of the non-Wisconsin groups are national organizations, and another contractor is based in Waukegan, Illinois.
Partners for Community Development, Northwest Wisconsin Concentrated Employment Program, and Legal Action of Wisconsin, are the Wisconsin-based Navigator groups. The National Council of Urban Indian Health, National Healthy Start Association, and R & B Receivables Management Corporation are the other three Navigator contractors.
The Northwest Wisconsin Concentrated Employment Program brags that its formation came as a result of the “Great Society” programs pushed by Democrats in the 1960s under President Lyndon Johnson. “CEP was developed out of the 1960s “Great Society” legislation called the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act (CETA),” their website declares.
CEP reports that it “has received numerous program-related awards from the Department of Labor.” According to IRS reports, 97% of the group’s nearly $4 million annual budget in 2012 came from federal and state government funds. They are set to receive $285,035 from the federal government to serve as an ObamaCare Navigator group.
The below chart lists each Navigator contractor in Wisconsin with the amount of money they are set to receive from the federal government.
|ObamaCare Navigator Contractor:||Federal Grant:|
|Partners for Community Development, Inc.||$315,720|
|Northwest Wisconsin Concentrated Employment Program, Inc.||$285,035|
|Legal Action of Wisconsin, Inc./SeniorLAW||$70,000|
|National Council of Urban Indian Health||$35,000|
|National Healthy Start Association||$191,667|
|R&B Receivables Management Corporation||$104,502|
While Navigator groups will play a significant role in ObamaCare implementation, state and local government offices are also being asked to help enroll people in the health insurance exchanges. In Wisconsin, several local health consortiums made up of county agencies working with the state’s Department of Health Services are going to help people register and use the exchange. In Florida, Governor Rick Scott has worked with legislative Republicans to keep county and state health agencies from participating in the implementation of ObamaCare.