10 Navigator agencies to provide expanded access to support during COVID-19 pandemic
October 22, 2020 – Recognizing the need for expert assistance is higher than ever, the Massachusetts Health Connector has 18 community-based Navigator organizations ready to provide health insurance enrollment help to residents, including 10 with newly-expanded capacity to provide additional support during the COVID-19 pandemic.
With the 18 Navigator organizations and 100 people working as Navigators, this is the largest Navigator program in Massachusetts since its inception for 2014 Open Enrollment as part of the Affordable Care Act. Navigators traditionally provide direct, in-person assistance to residents in their communities who need help accessing Health Connector coverage. As the Health Connector enters Open Enrollment for 2021, many Navigators will be providing virtual assistance to supplement more limited in-person help due to COVID-19.
“Having access to knowledgeable, experienced help is more important than ever for people who need Health Connector coverage going into 2021,” said Louis Gutierrez, the Executive Director of the Massachusetts Health Connector. “Our Navigators have substantial impact, helping thousands of Health Connector members and new applicants every year, and their services are all the more necessary amid this year’s pandemic challenge. They are here to deliver quality, affordable health coverage to the people they serve.”
During Open Enrollment, anyone without health insurance can enroll into coverage for 2021. This includes people who may have lost their job and work-based health insurance in 2020 and have been without coverage. Additionally, people who may have enrolled in COBRA coverage after losing a job this year can apply for coverage and find out if they qualify for subsidized coverage through the Health Connector, which through the ConnectorCare program provides plans with reduced premiums and co-pays, and no deductibles – and will likely be far more affordable than COBRA plans.
By working with a Navigator, Health Connector members and applicants are able to tap into a broad range of help, including completing an application, guidance on plan selection, providing documentation as necessary, and help throughout the year when members have questions about their coverage or Health Connector account. These services help people get into coverage and help make sure they stay covered, and Navigators provide these services in a range of languages and in ways designed to support the diverse populations of the Commonwealth.
All 16 organizations from the last two-year Navigator cycle return for the new round that runs through June 2022, along with two organizations: Lynn Community Health Center and Community Health Programs, which is headquartered in Great Barrington. The organizations will house Navigators in 32 location, and can provide assistance in a total of 23 languages. Massachusetts residents can learn more about the Navigator program and find Navigators and other assisters in their community at the Health Connector website.
Due to COVID-19, the Health Connector’s walk-in centers remained closed. In order to help applicants and members who rely on the walk-in center for support, the Health Connector is providing additional capacity opportunities at 10 Navigators, which will maintain additional support through September 2021. These Navigators will provide additional staff and hours to support people who need help or have questions about their coverage.
Here is a list of the 2020-22 Navigators, including total grant award amount for 2020-21 (also including funding for expanding capacity through September 2021), locations and languages offered:
Boston Public Health Commission ($210,043), 1010 Mass Ave. Languages: Spanish, Portuguese, Cape Verdean Creole, Haitian Creole. This organization will provide additional support.
Cambridge Economic Opportunity Council ($98,280), 11 Inman St. Languages: Amharic, Haitian Creole, French, Spanish, Portuguese
Caring Health Center (Springfield) ($258,092), 1049 Main St., 532 Sumner Ave. Languages: Albanian, Arabic, Burmese, English, Nepali, Russian, Somali, Spanish, Vietnamese. This organization will provide additional support.
Community Action Committee of Cape Cod & Islands, Inc. (Hyannis) ($163,111), 372 North St. Languages: Spanish, Portuguese, Bulgarian, Serbian, Russian. This organization will provide additional support.
Community Health Center of Franklin County (Greenfield) ($50,000), 102 Main St.. Languages: Spanish
Community Health Programs (Great Barrington) ($75,000), 444 Stockbridge Road, Great Barrington; 510 North St., Pittsfield; 725 North St., Pittsfield; 19 Depot St., Adams. Languages: Spanish, Portuguese
Ecu-Health Care (North Adams) ($87,500), 99 Hospital Ave., Suite 208
Edward M. Kennedy Health Center (Framingham) ($120,000), 354 Waverly St., Framingham; 42 Cape Road, Milford; 19 Tacoma, Worcester. Languages: Portuguese, Spanish.
Family Health Center (Worcester) ($285,201), 26 Queen St., 162 Chandler St., Worcester; 32 Orchard St., Southbridge. Languages: Albanian, Arabic, Berber, French, German, Greek, Italian, Kaba, Nepali, Sango, Spanish, Portuguese, Vietnamese. This organization will provide additional support.
Fishing Partnership ($100,000), 2 Blackburn Center, Gloucester; 139 Court St., Unit 101 A, Plymouth; 38 Bethel St., New Bedford; 880 Main St., Unit 2, Chatham. Languages: Portuguese, Italian
Greater Lawrence Community Action Council, Inc. ($183,727), 305 Essex St.. Languages: Spanish. This organization will provide additional support.
HealthFirst Family Care Center (Fall River) ($174,742), 387 Quarry St., Suite 100. Languages: Spanish, Portuguese, Cape Verdean Creole. This organization will provide additional support.
Hilltown Community Health Center (Worthington) ($60,500), 58 Old North Road, Worthington; 70 Boltwood Walk, Amherst. This organization will provide additional support.
Joint Committee for Children’s Health Care in Everett ($156,294), Everett City Hall, 484 Broadway. Languages: French, Haitian Creole, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish. This organization will provide additional support.
Lynn Community Health Center ($100,000), 269 Union St. Languages: Spanish, Portuguese, Khmer, Russian
Manet Community Health Center (Quincy) ($144,000), 110W Squantum St., Quincy; 180 George Washington Blvd., Hull; 1 Washington St., Taunton. Languages: Arabic, French, Haitian Creole, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Vietnamese, Mandarin. This organization will provide additional support.
PACE (New Bedford) ($154,996), 166 William St. Languages: Portuguese. This organization will provide additional support.
Vineyard Health Care Access (Vineyard Haven) ($50,000), 114 New York Ave. Portuguese, Spanish