Are Obamacare Health Exchange Jobs Still Available?
There are 17 states where laws require special background checks and licensing for Obamacare navigators. In 34 states, healthcare exchanges have been set up through the Federal Government because the states declined to create their own exchanges, and this has made for some rough sailing for folks at the Department of Health and Human Services. The 30 hour training period was cut back to 20 because the requirements were finalized in July 2013 and the official opening of the exchanges takes place on October 1, 2013. Some states have additional testing requirements. In Indiana, for example, there is a 60 question test, and in Wisconsin, there is a 60 hour training requirement.
There are several consumer protection concerns regarding how people will be advised when speaking with exchange advisors. It will be difficult to see if navigators work with insurance companies on the side or are getting kickbacks by advising people to sign up with a particular provider or agency with their "free money" from healthcare subsidies.
Variety of Positions
You may picture navigators as people who work one-on-one, and in person, with people looking to sign up for subsidized insurance coverage, but in reality a lot of work will be done online and over the phone. People can call in and sign up for coverage, which will require a lot of finesse considering that many plans have several steps, and the information required can be in-depth, and documents may be necessary to prove income levels for subsidized healtcare. Furthermore, the state healthcare exchanges have a variety of insurers, and there are four different plans (bronze, silver, gold, and platinum) which offer varying degrees of coverage and co-pays. The poorest people may be getting a high-deductible plan under the Bronze level, though this could still cause a hardship considering that a trip to the hospital would mean high co-pays.
20 hour Training Period
A 20 hour training period on the federal side of the healthcare law may be just the tip of the iceberg for navigators depending on which state you are in. In some areas, Obamacare navigators have been recruited from charities like soup kitchens and homeless shelters, so they may not be aware of all the lingo associated with insurance and coverage. In other states, there is a licensing requirement that may be identical to insurance sales, so there is a much higher learning curve associated with being an Obamacare navigator, or knowing how to get through the healthcare exchange and advise people on the best possible plan.