OnlineNavigator.org logo

OnlineNavigator.org News

continued from the home page

8/30/2013 CMS issued final regulations for the operation of the health insurance exchange system and Web brokers as 45 CFR Parts 147, 153, 155, and 156.

8/28/2013 CMS issued the first version of the Health Insurance Navigators Standard Operating Procedures Manual.

8/16/2013 Now with a growing number of states having passed laws allowing insurance professionals to charge fees for insurance advice in addition to insurance premiums, tax adviser Tony Novak, CPA warns advisers that some states now require payment of sales tax on these fee-based services. Today's accounting systems do a great job of keeping track of these details once properly set up for fee-based services.

8/15/2013 The federal navigator grant award recipients were announced. Freedom Benefits reproduced the list on a state-by-state basis linked to its HIX news pages.

7/25/2013 CMS released a report indicating its projection of wages to be earned by navigators working with the federal and state partnership exchanges. The majority will earn $20 per hour, according to the report. However, this is based on a projection of an average of only one hour of navigator time per application and industry experts predict the actual time requirement could be higher, cutting into a navigator's overall earnings. Early navigators working in state-run and private exchanges point out that the majority of their time is spent doing work other than interviewing applicants for insurance. If the navigator compensation has a performance or production requirement (as is likely according to other individuals working on navigator grants) then actual pay for navigators could be lower. Some commentators have offered the opinion that if you adjust for the production requirements then the pay for a navigator handling enrollments for a commercial exchange or state-run exchange outside the federal system is higher. Exchanges outside the federal system typically pay a fixed fee per insurance application. For example, if an exchange pays $50 per application and it takes only an hour to complete the application, then pay is $50 per hour. This thinking is not realistic because it typically takes much longer to find the applicant, set an appointment (sometimes multiple appointments) and make other arrangements necessary that lead to the completion of the insurance application. Additionally, not all appointments result in submitting an insurance application. It is not clear at this time what production requirements will be contained in the contracts for navigators working within or outside of the federal exchange system.

5/22/2013 Increased consumer calls forced us to eliminate free telephone support. A $40 pre-paid fee was added to curb demand for this level of service. Online and e-mail service will continue to be available free of charge for now as long aw we can keep up with demand.

5/20/2013 OnlineNavigator was featured in an article about the health insurance navigator industry published last week by Insurancenewsnet. A copy is available here in PDF format.

4/19/2013 OnlineNavigator formally endorses Members insurance exchange in a press release and issues advice to HIX navigators.

April 12, 2013 - A draft version of the paper version of an application for individual health insurance through a federally managed insurance exchange is available in PDF format for download. This is a draft version only and should not be used to make application for coverage. 

April 2, 2013 The federal Department of Health and Human Services released proposed rules for navigators on the 33 state health insurance exchanges that will be run by the federal government. The proposed rules are open for public comment until May 5. OnlineNavigator is not a candidate for any contract in a state insurance exchange but is considering involvement in training programs for the lead agencies that will hire and train navigators for the various state exchanges.

February 24, 2013 - Now that activity is heating up, a discussion group named "Health Insurance Navigators" is launched on LinkedIn. The group is open to everyone who has an interest in the topic.

December 15, 2012 - Two out of every three Americans who elect to use the new government health insurance exchanges in 2013-2014 will rely on technology and support developed by the federal government rather than their own state insurance departments. Consumer advocates view this as a positive development especially in consideration of the useful resources already available through HealthCare.gov that exceed most states' current capabilities.

October 24, 2012 - The Minnesota Health Insurance Exchange Navigator, Agent and Broker Work Group Advisory Task Force proposal is available in PDF format.

September 13, 2012 - OnlineNavigator basic service plan is changed to provide less service at a lower fee. Based on accumulated experience with this new business model, we believe this new pricing will provide better value to a larger number of users. The new pricing combines live personal or telephone adviser support with email follow-up into a flat rate.

September 11, 2012  - The House Energy and Commerce committee panel advanced HR 1206 that would modify the 2010 health care overhaul law to amend the law's provision on medical loss ratios in an effort to protect the earnings of insurance brokers and agents.

August 30, 2012 - The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issues clarifying proposed regulations regarding eligibility for the Preexisting Condition Insurance Plan.

August 18, 2012 - Interested in becoming a health insurance navigator? A new discussion group called "Health Insurance Navigators" was launched at LinkedIn to discuss issues that relate to this exciting growth area.

August 14, 2012 - The Department of Health and Human Services released the final version of its Blueprint for Approval of Affordable State-based and State Partnership Insurance Exchanges governing implementation of the Affordable Care Act health insurance exchanges. There were few changes from the draft published previously that is available on this Web site.

August 13, 2012 - The National Association of Insurance Commissioners formed a new working group comprised of state insurance commissioners from states that have chosen a different route in dealing with PPACA including the state health care exchanges.

July 9, 2012 - A new software is available to help employers calculate the potential tax penalties under the Affordable Care Act and compare the various strategies available. Ask for rates.

July 1, 2012 - A new simplified rate schedule discounts the price of email-based service. A flat fee covers most help requests.

June 4, 2012 - Iowa passes insurance navigator licensing and regulation legislation. The law is effective July 2012 but procedures are not yet in place.

May 18, 2012 - A Draft Blueprint for Approval of Affordable State-based and State Partnership Insurance Exchanges has been provided by the US Department of Health and Human Services.

On March 12, 2012 the US Department of Health and Human Services issued interim final regulations on the establishment and operation of the state of federally operated health insurance exchanges. The revised rules further defined and strengthen the role of navigators in the exchange. This Web site provides an annotated draft of the regulations.

March 11, 2012 - The National Conference of State legislators issued an informative 6 page report on the status of health reform law

On July 11, 2011 the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued proposed rules for the establishment of health insurance exchanges and qualified health plans. We annotated a copy of the PDF version for our own business planning purposes here on this Web site.

Accountable Care Organizations

The Affordable Care Act of 2010 opens the door to an alternative to insurance plans through coverage under accountable care organizations (ACO). Although these services are not currently available, we hope to offer enrollment support to ACOs on a local basis as they become available.

Pre-existing condition insurance plans (PCIP)

OnlineNavigator provides enrollment support services for the government-sponsored pre-existing condition insurance plans (PCIP). These plans no longer pay agent commissions but we plan to continue to offer enrollment support for the PCIP plans to the extent that resources are available. UPDATE: In February 2013, the federal government announced that it was suspending enrollment in the PCIP and stats are expected to follow with similar announcements with regard to their own PCIPs.