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Fact Sheet: Navigators – A Vital Element in Developing Georgia’s Healthcare Exchange

A key component of the new health law, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), is for the creation of navigators to facilitate the enrollment of individuals and small businesses in health coverage through the health insurance marketplace, or exchange, whether under Medicaid, PeachCare for Kids™, or a private insurance plan. These navigators will play a critical role in helping children and families in Georgia access health coverage by explaining the different options available and walking them through the steps necessary to enroll in an insurance plan.

Governor Nathan Deal recently issued an executive order to create the Georgia Health Insurance Exchange Advisory Committee, which is tasked with mapping out the options for policy makers as they weigh whether to establish state-level individual and small business exchanges for Georgia as authorized by federal law. As part of their work, one of the critical considerations of the advisory committee should be how to incorporate a clear, streamlined navigator program as part of the exchange. While at the time of this publication we have received proposed regulation from the federal government regarding the navigator program, these regulations are not finalized and still leave discretion regarding many program specifics to the state, much like the original legislation. Planning within Georgia should already be underway to design a navigator program that will eliminate barriers that families are currently experiencing when trying to obtain health care coverage.

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