Uncertain about the Affordable Care Act? You're Not Alone

New courses to enable baseline knowledge are now available for CHWs

Recent polls about the Affordable Care Act reveal that many Americans remain confused about the law. A Field Poll reports that fewer than half of the Californians who would be eligible for benefits under the law are aware that they are, while a Kaiser Family Foundation tracking poll found that a majority of Americans are still unsure about how the law will impact them, and that awareness hasn’t improved since the law was enacted in 2010.

As enrollment for the Affordable Care Act ramps up to begin in October, Americans across the country are realizing they need to quickly become more knowledgeable about the Affordable Care Act. This need is even more pronounced among the organizations that provide community health support, and particularly among the Community Health Workers (CHWs) who are at the front lines.

“A lot of people don’t know the facts,” says Alecia Distin, an Americorp Volunteer and Community Health Worker for the Center for Black Women’s Wellness in Atlanta.

CHWs like Distin act as an intermediary between members of the community who face financial and health-related hurdles and the governmental services designed to support them.

“With new legislation like ACA, people have a lot of questions. There have to be some experts who know the facts,” says Distin.

Distin recently completed an online course designed for CHWs called Navigating Health Insurance provided by CHWTraining.org.

The course is designed to provide CHWs, navigators and others with knowledge of basic terminology and real-life case studies to enable them to better support their communities.

“You don’t have to be a doctor or scientist to understand the concepts presented,” says Distin, “It arms you with key basics that you can build upon.”

Chwtraining.org also offers additional courses in CHW fundamentals like general health literacy and CHW core skills like relationship building and patient health monitoring.

“The courses provided by chwtraining.org provide CHWs with the fundamental knowledge they need to be a successful advocate in their community,” says Monique Cuvelier, president of CHWTraining.org. “For those who are interested in becoming certified navigators, this baseline knowledge is an invaluable first step toward achieving the government certification.”

ACA mandates funding for outreach and enrollment workers known as "navigators," who will help people sign up for coverage on the new state health insurance marketplaces beginning Oct. 1. Navigators must undergo 20 to 30 hours of online training and must pass a certification test before they can begin work. They also must renew their certifications annually.

Distin hopes her experience will land her a spot as a navigator. “I just submitted my application for a navigator position,” she says. “I was proud to put that I had completed the Navigating Health Insurance course. It will help me find a job.”

For more information or to register for the courses, please visit http://chwtraining.org/course.

CHWTraining.org is a subsidiary of Talance, Inc. an e-learning company founded in 2000 with a focus on training for health organizations. CHWTraining.org utilizes modern e-learning tools and a standardized curriculum that provides students an easy way to consume course materials and receive personalized feedback.

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