ACA Outreach and Education Rules
On September 27, 2014 TJC filed a complaint on behalf of Women League of Voters and other Tennesseans who are affected by the Emergency Rules that impact community education around the Affordable Care Act. On Monday, October 7, 2014 the parties agreed on a settlement. Click through the links below to find out more:
- Agreed Final Order
- LWV vs. McPeak complaint
- Plaintiffs’ Reply Brief
- Plaintiffs’ Motion for a TRO and TI
- Washington Post: “Local Governments Fighting States Over Right to Explain Obamacare”
- Tennessean Editorial: “TN Gets in the Way of Healthcare Enrollment”
- Tennessean Article: “TN Rules ‘Bind’ Health Law Navigators, Critics Say”
- Nashville Public Radio: “Nashville Joins Lawsuit Challenging State’s Obamacare Recruiting Rules”
- Courthouse News: “Obamacare Hurdle is Unfair, Tennesseans Say”
Q: I want to volunteer to help people get health coverage through the online Marketplace. Do I have to get approved by the federal government?
A: No. You only have to get certified by the federal government if you want to be a “navigator” or want to be able to tell people that you are a “certified application counselor” (CAC).
The federal government has already selected the agencies that will hire navigators, so if you are not working for one of those agencies, you are not a navigator and don’t need to worry about meeting federal requirements for navigators.
The other category that assists others in getting coverage is CACs. So long as you don’t hold yourself out as a CAC or imply that you are federally certified, you do not have to go through the federal process of getting approved as a CAC. A volunteer can help people without being a CAC. So can anyone (for example, a hospital or clinic social worker, a minister, a librarian, a lawyer, or an information and referral worker) whose job involves providing information and assistance to people seeking coverage.
Q: What about registering with the state? If I want to help people enroll in the new health coverage, do I have to register with the Tennessee Department of Commerce or Insurance (DCI), or some other state agency?
A: No. You only have to register with DCI if you are a federally designated “navigator,” or if you are certified as a CAC by the federal government. (You also have to register with DCI if you want to advertise or tell others that you are a navigator or CAC, but federal law already prohibits you from doing those things unless you are actually a navigator or CAC.)
Q: What are the benefits of becoming a federally certified CAC?
A: The only advantage is that you can advertise that you are federally certified.
Q: Are there things a CAC can do that other people cannot do?
A: The only additional thing a CAC can do is advertise that she has federal certification.
A person who is not a CAC can actually do all of the other things a CAC can do, in terms of helping people enroll in coverage, so long as she does not hold herself out to the public as being a CAC.
Q: Are there disadvantages to becoming certified as a CAC?
A: If you are certified as a CAC, you have to register with DCI. Registration with DCI requires fingerprinting, a background check and completion of 12 hours of training over the next year. If you register with DCI, you may also be asked to disclose documents and records to prove you are complying with DCI’s rules.
Q: But I want to get trained so that I can better help people. Can I get trained without being a CAC?
A: Yes. Although you must seek certification as a CAC to go through the interactive online training that is offered to CACs, the same information is available in pdf format to anyone. Organizations supporting outreach and enrollment activities are also willing to provide free training to volunteers.