The Affordable Care Act (ACA) calls for the creation of state-based competitive marketplaces, known as Affordable Health Insurance Exchanges (Exchanges), for individuals and small businesses to purchase private health insurance. The ACA requires the Exchanges to become operational in 2014, with enrollment beginning Oct. 1, 2013. To help consumers use the Exchanges and review insurance options, the ACA requires each Exchange to establish a Navigator program. Navigators are organizations that will provide unbiased information to consumers about health insurance, the Exchange, qualified health plans (QHPs) and public programs including Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). In addition to Navigators, Exchanges also will provide other consumer assistance services such as call centers, in-person assistance personnel, certified application counselors, and agents and brokers. On April 5, 2013, HHS released a proposed regulation on consumer assistance programs through the Exchanges.
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