Report from the First Year of Navigator Technical Assistance Project

A health worker helps a member of the public complete forms.

Observations from the first year of the ACA's open enrollment period are highlighted in this report, as well as lessons for navigators as the November 15 open enrollment period approaches.

The Issue:

The next open enrollment period will bring new challenges to this already complicated enrollment process. An estimated 5 million more people will enroll in coverage in the open enrollment period that begins November 15, 2014.

The first open enrollment period was challenging for assisters and consumers. Changing rules, balky websites, and consumers’ unfamiliarity with key provisions of the ACA all contributed to a difficult first year. But consumer assistance helped make it more successful than experts predicted it would be, resulting in a significant decline in the uninsured after the first year of enrollment into marketplace coverage. Marketplaces have an opportunity to build upon that success and strengthen and extend consumer assistance to help people understand their plan options and enroll in coverage.

Navigator recommendations for year two open enrollment include:

  • How to make the process more seamless and consumer-friendly;
  • Improved tools to help assist potential enrollees; and
  • How navigators can effectively tap insurance agents and brokers, as well as tax preparers to help enroll the uninsured.


About the Grantee:

The report was prepared by the Center on Health Insurance Reforms at the Georgetown University Health Policy Institute, and was funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.