Community Catalyst: The Importance of Navigators for Health Care Reform

Many states tackled Exchanges this past session, some getting further than others. No matter where you are in your Exchange planning and design, all states should begin to focus on Navigators, the important consumer tool built into the Exchange. Our blog outlines the critical role Navigators will play for people who will get health insurance through the Exchange.

What are Navigators?

When the Affordable Care Act (ACA) established state Exchanges, Navigators were created to help people who will get insurance through state health insurance Exchanges, such as small businesses, self-employed or people who do not have access to insurance through their employers. The Navigator’s job is to provide individuals and families with the information necessary to determine which health insurance option best fits their needs, and then help them enroll in their plan of choice. We believe community groups can play an important role.

Why talk about Navigators now?

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners is preparing to release a white paper to all state insurance commissioners that outlines suggestions for establishing Navigators. Much of the noise about Navigators to date has been about brokers, but consumer advocates need to be part of those conversations too. We need to talk about Navigators from a broad viewpoint and open the door for diverse organizations to serve as Navigators to provide unbiased, clear, and culturally competent information.

Now is the time to reach out to your insurance commissioner and begin a dialogue about establishing your state Navigators. You can also engage your coalition and policymakers to lay the groundwork for creating your state Navigators to best serve the people who will rely on them for guidance in the Exchange.


To assist in your efforts, we developed the following:

Navigators Brief – explains the role and duties, who will be using them and lays out the key elements of a strong Navigator

Navigators FAQ template – customize this one-pager to engage your coalition members or policymakers in a discussion about the importance of establishing a Navigator that will truly meet the needs of your state

Template letter to your commissioner – use this cover letter to send the Navigator brief and FAQ to your insurance commissioner and then follow up with a phone call or in-person meeting

Navigators PowerPoint – our short presentation about Navigators can help educate coalition partners or grassroots leaders

Top Ten Exchange Priorities – as a reminder, this document provides the top ten priorities for consumers in the Exchange, and number nine outlines how the Exchange and Navigators interact.

Thank you for your continued advocacy,

The Community Catalyst Implementation Team


2 responses to “Community Catalyst: The Importance of Navigators for Health Care Reform

  1. I’d like to read the te detailed resources described above referencing navigators.

    Please refer me to the link .

    Rhonda Morris

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