Press releaseJuly 10, 2018
Washington, D.C.—Today the Trump administration announced drastic funding cuts for programs that provide in-person assistance to help people enroll in health insurance coverage. More specifically they are slashing funding for grants to the Navigator program by more than $25 million---from $36.8 million in 2018 to $10 million for 2019. This announcement comes on the back of previous announcements from the Administration that undermine the program, including the removal of requirements that Navigators maintain a physical presence in the service area of the marketplace in which consumers are enrolling. Navigators are intended to provide a critical service, offering clear, unbiased information for people to understand their insurance options, to receive financial assistance, and ultimately to enroll in plans through health insurance marketplaces.
The following is a statement from Families USA Executive Director Frederick Isasi on the administration’s latest action:
“The Navigator program plays a vital role, most critically, in the lives of consumers who are facing tough choices between health care and other basic expenses and need assistance finding affordable health insurance for themselves and their children. The decision to cut funding that helps families navigate health insurance and select the best coverage for them is further evidence that the Trump Administration is putting politics above the needs of families.
“Given the continued attacks on health care, including federal rules allowing the resurgence of low-cost, junk health 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.
“The $10 million navigator contract represents an 84 percent decrease in funding for navigator services since 2016--- it follows last year’s 42 percent decrease in funding, down from $62.5 million awarded in 2016 to $36.8 million awarded in 2017.
“In addition to cutting funds, the announcement builds upon previous decisions by the administration that will take navigator duties out of the hands of trusted community and state-based organizations that know the populations they serve best, and place them in the hands of entities that are not physically located where people who need coverage live and work.
“We call on members of Congress to provide a fast remedy to this situation and require funding for a robust, community-based enrollment assistance effort.”