In-Person Consumer Assistance with the Marketplace
There are three main types of free, 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. 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 below.
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 2016:
- City of Garden City
- Michigan Consumers for Healthcare
- Midwest Asian Health Association (MAHA)
- Forest County Potawatomi Community
Certified Application Counselors and the Marketplace
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.