Oct 2, 2013 8:34 PM by Nathan O'Neal

"Navigators" brace to educate public on Affordable Care Act

TUCSON - While the new health insurance marketplace online application has experienced some technical glitches nationwide, people known as "navigators" are working to educate the public and provide assistance to those in search of affordable health insurance.

The Tucson Urban League is just one of several places in Southern Arizona where you can find people like Debra Johnson -- she's known as a "navigator" for understanding the health insurance marketplace and giving one-on-one assistance to those in need.

"More so the navigator's role is to go out and create awareness -- to get out in the community," Johnson said.

The purpose is to educate a diverse group of people in the community on what health reform could mean for them.

"People just don't know what's available to them as far as the different levels of plans -- whether or not they would qualify for Medicaid or Medicare," Johnson told News 4 Tucson.

"Navigators" are full trained and meant to help people of all walks of life.

"Clients come in with minimal knowledge and you'll basically need to walk them through the application process, answer any questions that pertain to signing up for a healthcare plan," said David Hinton, a certified "navigator" at Tucson Urban League.

Although "navigators" won't fill out the application for you -- they will help with questions every step of the way.

"Honestly it takes time for that information to get out and for people to become comfortable with going in and having a true understanding that when they do go into a marketplace, they will come out with affordable healthcare insurance," Hinton said.

In order to avoid a fee, people should sign up for health insurance by the end of March, which is also the end of the open enrollment through the exchange.


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