Brad Goins Thursday, October 3, 2013 0

Brian Burton Of Maplewood Is Heading Up Louisiana’s Navigator Effort

By Brad GoinsBurton

Central to the new health care act will be the role of people who are called “navigators.” These are individuals who are specially trained to answer questions about the new health care act and help people fill out insurance forms when such help is needed.

Navigators are impartial advisors. They don’t work for or represent any private insurance companies.

Brian Burton, a 15-year resident of nearby Maplewood, will head up Louisiana’s navigator effort. He’s affiliated with the Southwest Louisiana Area Health Education Center. He’s recently been splitting his work time between Lake Charles, Lafayette and Baton Rouge.

Burton is quick to note that the Southwest Louisiana Area Health Education Center is primarily an office for recordkeeping and such. It isn’t really set up for individuals who have insurance questions that relate to the new health care act.

Burton recommends that those who do have such questions and don’t have an insurance agent follow the developments at lahealthcarenav.com. This site will inform users about when navigators will be coming to their areas to deliver presentations.

“Everything we [that is, navigators] are going to do is through outreach,” says Burton.

Right now, he says, “each region is going through a process to find out where the uninsured or underinsured are.” Burton and his crew will work with faith-based and other organizations in these areas to ensure that navigators travel to the organizations and hold meetings at which the pertinent information about the new health care act is explained.

“We take something that’s complex and make it simple,” he says.

In addition to the organizations noted above, navigators will be trying to connect with universities, health care centers and FQACs (Federally Qualified Health Centers). Navigators will also focus on rural areas that are short in formal organizations. Again, they will seek out the places where there’s a concentration of people who are uninsured or underinsured.

Those who feel they’re “falling in the gap” when it comes to getting information about the new plan may want to request a presentation by navigators.

When they give presentations, navigators will make appointments with individuals in the audience who feel they need additional help with the insurance process and will then return to the area at the time of the appointments. Using laptops and other equipment, navigators will guide individuals through the insurance application process.

Burton thinks that “it will take an hour to an hour and a half per person” for those who meet with navigators at the personal appointments. Because the process does take time, navigators will give personalized advice by appointment only.

Burton thinks that many young people or older people who are computer savvy will simply go on the Internet themselves and sign up for the insurance policy they prefer. They’ll never seek advice from navigators.

If you feel that you do need advice, and if you don’t have an organization or insurance agent you can turn to, you may want to follow Burton’s advice and follow the schedule of area meetings at lahealthcarenav.com. If you aren’t computer savvy, ask your local librarian or someone who is to help you get to the web site.