The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is a United States federal statute signed into law by President Obama on March 23, 2010. It aims to increase the quality and affordability of health insurance, lower the uninsured rate by expanding public and private insurance coverage, and reduce the costs of healthcare for individuals and the government. It provides a number of mechanisms -- including mandates, subsidies, and insurance exchanges -- to increase coverage and affordability. The law also requires insurance companies to cover all applicants within new minimum standards and offer the same rates regardless of pre-existing conditions or sex. Additional reforms aim to reduce costs and improve healthcare outcomes by shifting the system towards quality over quantity through increased competition, regulation, and incentives to streamline the delivery of healthcare. (excerpt from Wikipedia)On October 1, open enrollment through the Health Insurance Marketplace (state-based healthcare exchanges) will begin, allowing individuals to sign up for health coverage that fits both their budget and their needs. The enrollment period will last through March 1, 2014, and is a time when 'Navigators' will be guiding Americans through the aforementioned insurance exchanges. [Click here for the perfect place to go for more information on this.}
With this, the most significant regulatory overhaul of America's healthcare system since the passage of Medicare and Medicaid back in '65, comes myriad news stories on Navigators. We have seen them labeled as Healthcare Navigators, Exchange Navigators, Insurance Navigators, Patient Navigators... The list goes on. And it's here where we'd like to inform you of the difference between 'Patient Navigators' and state-based healthcare exchange 'Navigators'. In our efforts to (hopefully!) lessen the apparent confusion, versus simply add to it, we'll give you their definitions and leave it at that:
And as always, the perfect place to go for more information on Patient Navigation is right here.(Healthcare Exchange) Navigator: 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. (www.healthcare.gov)Patient Navigator: An individual (either one with a clinical background or a layperson) who has received Patient Navigation training and whose job it is to help patients with chronic illnesses overcome any and all barriers to healthcare. Patient navigators use a patient-centric concept that concentrates on the movement of patients along the continuum of medical care, beginning in the community and continuing on through testing, diagnosis, and survivorship to the end of life.