This fact sheet from Enroll America explains the differences between navigators, in-person assisters, and consumer assistance centers as the open enrollment period for the new state and federal health insurance marketplaces begins on October 1, 2013. Although the functions of each of these types of consumer “assisters” is similar, what they are called depends largely on the type of health insurance marketplace operating in each state.
Navigators are trained and paid by the federal, state-based, and state partnership marketplaces to provide education and assistance to individuals and small businesses about how to apply for health insurance through the marketplaces
In-Person Assisters are individuals who are trained and paid by state partnership marketplaces or state-based marketplaces to provide education and assistance to individuals and small businesses about how to apply for health insurance through the marketplaces; there
Consumer assistance centers are organizations (for example, community health centers) that currently assist patients apply for programs such as Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program; these consumer assistance centers will be trained to assist their patients (and other community members) to apply for health insurance through the new marketplaces (but their organizations will not be paid for providing this enrollment assistance).
Finally, traditional health insurance agents and brokers also will be able to continue to assist individuals purchase health insurance through the marketplaces.
The Enroll America website has compiled how navigator and in-person assister programs are being established in each state.