Health Care Navigators Working On Ohio Certification

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The Ohio Association of Food Banks is preparing to help state residents in a new way -- with health care information.

The group is one of 12 organizations in the state that was given a federal grant to train and provide health care navigators.

“Navigators are individuals who are there to provide unbiased, quality and accurate information,” said Jason Elchert, Ohio Association of Food Banks.

Elchert says navigators cannot actually enroll you, but they can help you understand which insurance networks are available, what the plans may look like, and how to navigate websites that detail the different coverage options.

"If you haven't really used insurance before, these are some of the things we're going to have to explain to consumers,” added Elchert.

All navigators are required to go through 20 hours of training, pass a government exam and have a background check.

Ohio is one of 14 states that are placing restrictions on navigators that include additional training and licensing requirements.

According to the Ohio Department of Insurance, none of the expected 40 full time navigators in Ohio have finished certification.

But the Ohio Association of Food Banks says the first wave of trained navigators will become available in mid-October.

The organization says that now is a good time for people to start doing their homework.

They are holding community events to sit down with people and go over an overview of the changes, including discussing what choices are now available.

The first community information event in Columbus will be held on Wednesday at the Columbus Metropolitan Library downtown, starting at 5:30 p.m.

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