In-Person Consumer Assistance with the Marketplace
There are three main types of in-person consumer assistance available to Michigan consumers for help with applying to the federally-run Health Insurance Marketplace and picking a plan:
- health insurance agents;
- Navigators; and
- Certified Application Counselors.
Consumers may also receive assistance through the Health Insurance Marketplace Call Center: 800-318-2596.
Agents and the Marketplace
Agents who have completed online training and registration with the Marketplace can assist Michigan consumers with the Marketplace eligibility application and selecting a qualified health plan.
To participate in the Marketplace, agents must adhere to Michigan’s requirements for licensure and comply with state laws. An agent may not charge an individual for assisting them with the Marketplace because agent commissions are between the issuer and agent.
It is possible that an agent might only assist you with enrollment in a qualified health plan offered by an insurance company with which the agent has a business relationship. Agents selling in the Marketplace should provide to consumers a list of the insurance companies with which the agent has a business relationship.
To verify an agent’s licensure with the state of Michigan, or to get a list of agents in your zip code, click here. Please note: not all agents listed here have registered to sell on the Marketplace.
Navigators and the Marketplace
Navigators provide impartial assistance for Michigan consumers with Marketplace eligibility applications and selecting a qualified health plan. The federal government requires online training and registration with the Marketplace for individuals working as Navigators through the five entities listed above.
Navigators are required to provide assistance to those consumers who request it. Some navigators may have walk-in offices, some may assist you via telephone, and some may require that you make an appointment in advance.
The federal government gave grant funds to five entities in Michigan to run Navigator programs in 2015:
- American Indian Health and Family Services of Southeast Michigan, Inc.
American Indian Health and Family Services is a non-profit health organization serving a large number of the uninsured or under insured and also served as a 2013 Navigator grantee. Funds will be used to reach its target audience of American Indians, Alaskan Natives, Latinos, and Asians through the mass mailing of brochures, flyers and informational literature geared toward specific populations, hosting and attending educational forums, increasing social media networking and advertising efforts, publications, and training expert personnel to assist consumers in enrollment and renewals.
- Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services (ACCESS)
ACCESS is non-profit service agency that advocates for, empowers and enables individuals, families, and the Arab, Chaldean, and Bangladeshi American communities in metropolitan Detroit to achieve optimal health and wellness. It served as a 2013 Navigator grantee and this year funds will be used to continue reaching out to and engaging under/uninsured community members through local, multicultural electronic and print media, public access television and radio, and monthly ACCESS and community partner events, like weekly health “Expos” at the three County Public Health Offices.
- Michigan Consumers for Healthcare
The Michigan Consumers for Healthcare (MCH) network served as a 2013 Navigator grantee and includes statewide organizations and local affiliates with deep experience in conducting Medicaid and CHIP outreach and enrollment and health insurance counseling for uninsured and vulnerable individuals and families. This year it will coordinate with 220 organizations across the state, including 60 statewide, regional and local community-based organizations. Using existing networks and infrastructure, it will disseminate educational materials and resources to the low-income, vulnerable populations in every region and county in the state.
- Midwest Asian Health Association (MAHA)
MAHA will be targeting the Asian population in Oakland, and Wayne counties. It will be serving as a Navigator grantee in Ohio and Illinois as well and plans to conduct outreach and public education that helps inform tri-state target communities about the new opportunities for accessing health care coverage, and assistance paying for health coverage.
- Forest County Potawatomi Community
Forest County Potawatomi Community will coordinate with 16 tribes, with each tribe having its own Navigator outreach office. Navigators will be trained and housed within each tribal community.
Certified Application Counselors assist Michigan consumers with the Marketplace eligibility application and selecting a qualified health plan.
Certain types of organizations may operate a Certified Application Counselor program: community health centers; hospitals, health care providers, mental health providers, certain social services agencies, and local government agencies.
Organizations apply to the Marketplace directly to run a Certified Application Counselor program. The federal Marketplace will designate which organizations can operate Certified Application Counselor programs.
Further information on these programs may be accessed at https://localhelp.healthcare.gov/ or by calling the Marketplace Call Center at 800-318-2596.