Insurance counselors known as navigators who have helped people sign up for Obamacare haven’t enrolled enough people to justify more spending. This is the claim by the Trump administration being used to slash grants to nonprofit organizations that help people obtain health insurance under the Affordable Care Act.
Some feel the cuts are being used to escalate attacks on the law that will threaten to destabilize its insurance markets. The cuts are the second round in two years. The government will provide $10 million this fall, down from $36 million last autumn and $63 million in late 2016 — a total reduction of more than 80 percent.
According to Trump administration officials, insurance counselors known as navigators did not enroll enough people to justify more spending. They feel that insurance agents and brokers do a much better job at counseling and enrolling individuals.
The announcement of the cuts came 3 days after the administration suspended a program that stabilized health insurance markets through paying billions of dollars to insurers that enroll large numbers of less healthy people under the Affordable Care Act. Some insurers reacted negatively saying that this freeze would only lead to turmoil in insurance markets and also drive up premiums.
Also, according to the Trump administration, the roll of the navigators will change to helping people enroll in health insurance plans that do not comply with the consumer protection standards and other requirements of the Affordable Care Act. Such plans do not have to provide the standard health benefits like preventive services, maternity care or prescription drug coverage, but administration officials say they will also be more affordable to consumers.
While Democrats claim that this is just another attempt by the administration to sabotage the ACA, the Trump administration defended its decision to cut grants to insurance counselors, saying consumers had many other ways to learn about their options.