Cuts to navigator program raise concerns in southeast Minnesota - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Cuts to navigator program raise concerns in southeast Minnesota

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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -

The Trump administration's announcement of cuts being made to the Affordable Care Act's 'navigator' program is having an effect here in southeast Minnesota.  The program provides in-person assistance to people seeking coverage on Obamacare's web-based marketplace.  Healthcare organizations in southeast Minnesota say they've been getting calls from people raising concerns about things like renewal programs, reapplying or losing coverage.

Rules announced this week by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services won't affect people in state marketplaces.  Under the Affordable Care Act, there is a federal marketplace and states were allowed to set up their own marketplace for health insurance.  In Minnesota, MNSure was set up for the local marketplace and local organizations like Health Access MN say there has been some confusion.  They want to get the word out about what the cuts will affect.  

"What is happening is people see in the news, because we see so much national news in addition to our great local news, they're hearing that navigator budgets have been cut, there's not going to be navigators," says Health Access MN Regional Coordinator Denise Robertson, "There's been a 90% cut in the last two years.  And they think that means there's going to be no help available this year for people who have questions or need assistance getting healthcare.  And that's just not true."

Programs that were available before the cuts are still available.  Some of those programs include tax credits, medical assistance and Minnesota Care.
People who qualify for programs like Minnesota Assistance or Medical Assistance can apply year-round for help and navigators are still available to them. Navigators can also help finding insurance policies.

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