Press releaseSeptember 12, 2018
Washington, D.C.—Today the Trump administration released its 2018 cooperative agreement awards for entities that will serve as Navigators for the health insurance marketplaces during open enrollment for 2019 plans. This year’s funding level is $10 million, a significant reduction from previous years ($62.5 million in 2016 and $36 million in 2017). Under federal law, Navigators provide in-person assistance to help people through the marketplace health plan eligibility and enrollment process. Open enrollment runs from November 1 to December 15 of this year.
Following is the statement of Claire McAndrew, director of campaigns and partnerships for Families USA:
“Today’s Navigator award announcement is another example of the Trump administration’s continuous efforts to decimate the programs that help families get the health coverage and care they need. By slashing Navigator funding by 84 percent, the Trump administration is demonstrating that the health of families is not a priority.
“In-person enrollment assistance has been shown to increase the likelihood that an individual will enroll in coverage. Despite the effectiveness of the Navigator program, the administration has cut its budget by $52.5 million since 2016.
“Given the continued attacks on health care, including federal rules allowing the resurgence of low-cost, junk insurance plans, such as ‘association health plans’ and ‘short-term plans’, consumers looking for good, comprehensive coverage could be easily confused. This is a time when consumers need more help to understand the insurance options that are available to them—not less.
“We congratulate this year’s awardees and commend them for their continued dedication to supporting the health insurance needs of consumers. We are, however, concerned about how families will fare this enrollment season without sufficient numbers of trained and trusted local Navigators. We are concerned about how Navigator funding cuts will affect people who need in-person expert help in their communities, and those for whom English is not their first language, who have relied on Navigators who speak their language to assist them. People who would otherwise get coverage with the help of Navigators may lose that chance because of the hazardous cuts the Trump administration has made.”