PPACA navigators to earn $20-$48 an hourNews added by Benefits Pro on July 26, 2013
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By Allison Bell

The PPACA's new navigators will have a lot of work ahead of them.

According to newly released projections from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the navigators hired to help Americans buy insurance on the coming exchanges will provide 1.7 million "help" sessions a year.

A navigator will likely spend an average of one hour per client, with about 10 minutes of each hour being devoted to recordkeeping.

As for their worth, CMS said a client-level navigator organization caseworker should be paid about $20 per hour, while the time of a mid-level project leader will be about $29 per hour.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act requires each PPACA health insurance exchange to hire navigators -- who are not paid by health insurers -- to help consumers understand how to use the exchange system.

States with state-based exchanges are supposed to set up their own navigator and navigator management programs.

The new CMS navigator reporting system would affect only the navigators in states with all-federal, "federally facilitated exchanges," and the states with federal-state "state partnership exchanges."

CMS prepared the navigator activity projections when estimating the cost of the CMS-10463 navigator reporting program. CMS came up with the cost estimates to comply with federal Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 requirements.

The agency is expecting to provide federal exchange navigator organization grants for 264 organizations, with each organization employing an average of seven "caseworkers," or staff navigators.

At a typical navigator organization, officials said, seven caseworkers will spend about 1,078 hours per year on navigator help session recordkeeping.

If total help session time amounts to six times session recordkeeping time, then the caseworkers would be spending 8,124 hours per year on help sessions. That would be enough time to provide 8,124 one-hour help sessions.

CMS put the navigator recordkeeping system through a 60-day public comment period that began April 12.

"Several commenters suggested navigator awardees reporting requirements be expanded to include demographics and [other] standards, specifically sexual orientation and gender identity," officials said.

CMS decided against including information about clients' sexual orientation or gender identity, such as whether consumers are transsexual, in the navigator reporting program. Complying with that kind of requirement would be impractical, because navigators will not be retaining personal information on a consumer other than a consent form that will let the navigator help the consumer, officials said.

"The only demographic information associated with a consumer is the information provided by the consumer in their application for coverage through the marketplace," officials said. "Navigators will not retain copies of the application."

Originally published on BenefitsPro.com
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