Groups that help people enroll in ACA worried funds could dry up under Trump

The future of federal funding for "navigators" that help people enroll in insurance coverage on the ACA marketplace is unclear, reports The Wall Street Journal.

President Donald Trump's administration has not yet decided whether to continue funding the "navigator program" started under former President Barack Obama. A decision could come "within weeks," according to the report.

Under the program, individuals and organizations called navigators provide various no-cost services to consumers looking to enroll in an ACA plan. According to WSJ, these navigators are located in hospitals, libraries and other institutions nationwide and help with issues such as checking if a consumer is eligible for Medicaid expansion.

In 2016, CMS provided $63 million in grants to nearly 100 navigators, with the funding slated to go through September of next year, according to the report. However, WSJ notes federal officials could still end the contracts in early September 2017, as "the contracts specify that funding year-to-year would be contingent on their performance."

A CMS spokesperson declined WSJ's request for comment. In the meantime, some officials with navigators are worried the funding could be eliminated, although they say they haven't yet received word on a funding decision, according to the report.

Their concerns come as President Donald Trump has advocated for repealing and replacing the ACA and threatened to end the health law's cost-sharing reduction payments — which help insurers subsidize the cost of coverage for low-income Americans. According to WSJ, the federal government has also not made a decision regarding staffing ACA call centers and whether it will automatically re-enroll people who make no plan changes themselves.

 

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