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Half Of Indiana Counties Don’t Have Health Care Navigator

More than half of Indiana's counties do not have someone trained to guide Hoosiers signing up for the new health care marketplace.

volunteer

Photo: WFIU/WTIU News

A volunteer at the Monroe County Public Library helps guide a Bloomington resident through signing up for health insurance on the federal government website.

Many of Indiana’s counties are lacking a certified navigator, the people responsible for guiding Hoosiers through enrollment in the Affordable Care Act’s health insurance marketplaces.

Affordable Care Act navigators are trained by the federal government to guide consumers through the insurance application process in the newly-created health care marketplaces.

Indiana law requires the state to license these navigators. That includes running background checks on them and providing them extra training. More than half of Indiana’s 92 counties are without a navigator, and 18 of them only have one.

Rep. Ed Clere, R-New Albany, says one example of the shortage is the county he represents, Floyd County.

“The 21st most populous county in the state has no navigator and in the adjacent counties – Clark to the east and Harrison to the west – there’s only one each,” he says.

State Department of Insurance Deputy Commissioner Logan Harrison notes the number of Indiana navigators has more than doubled in the last month, but he says recruitment is the federal government’s responsibility.

“It was their vision and one of their chief marketing and grassroots efforts to get people signed up,” he says. “We do not have the resources and cannot require citizens to come and join this new, so-called profession.”

Harrison says Hoosiers in underserved areas can go to traditional insurance agents and brokers, who should be able to help guide them through the application process.

Brandon Smith, IPBS

Brandon Smith, IPBS has previously worked as a reporter and anchor for KBIA Radio in Columbia, MO, and at WSPY Radio in Plano, IL as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.

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