Vermont Health Connect has awarded $2 million in grants to 18 organizations to provide in-person enrollment assistance for the state’s new healthcare exchange.
The so-called Navigator Organizations will train and certify individual navigators to provide one-on-one help to individuals, families and small businesses in determining their options under the new healthcare exchanges. Department of Vermont Health Access Deputy Commissioner Lindsey Tucker explains that it is a federal requirement.
The 18 grants were awarded to social service agencies and business organizations. Four groups are designated Statewide Coordinating Navigator Organizations, which will do education, outreach and enrollment, but also coordinate between all the organizations to assure all needs are met. Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity Executive Director Jan Demers says the group will help connect the community action partnerships across the state.
Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility is partnering with the Vermont Grocers Association, the Vermont Retail Association and the Vermont Medical Society. Executive Director Andrea Cohen says grant funds will be used for direct help to businesses.
Vermont Campaign for Health Care Security Executive Director Peter Sterling emphasizes that the Navigators are not a new state bureaucracy, but individuals getting to people who need help.
Navigator training will begin in July, with education and outreach under way in summer and fall. Enrollment in Vermont’s Health Care Exchange begins October 1st.