The key launch date for the Affordable Care Act is only weeks away, but the problem remains that there are too few people who know enough about health insurance to be able to explain it to 30 million people who have never been insured.
The federal government has recruited nonprofits and related organizations to help with training, but many of these groups lack the foundation they need to begin the intensive government "navigator" programs. Many groups have little or no experience in health insurance, such as church groups or soup kitchens. But even medically experienced health workers and educators lack core skills around understanding health insurance.
An important first step is understanding the basics about insurance--topics that deal with how people sign up for help, what kinds of programs are free for them, and important vocabulary terms.
CHWTraining.org, an online training company in Massachusetts, offers one possible solution to the knowledge gap. Navigating Health Insurance is an affordable online course that launches September 23 and provides that basic foundation of insurance knowledge that navigators, community health workers and patient navigators can build on.
The timing is critical, because individuals can begin shopping for new health insurance policies on October 1 and have six months to enroll.