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CVS to Invite Obamacare 'Navigators' Into Stores to Push Universal Health Care Sign-Ups

They'll use the new Federal Data Hub, which can access personal information from the likes of the IRS, the Department of Defense, and the Veterans Administration.

CVS remains open, but prepared for Isaac's arrival in Bayou La Batre, Ala. on Monday, Aug. 27, 2012. The National Hurricane Center predicted Isaac would grow to a Category 1 hurricane over the warm Gulf and possibly hit late Tuesday somewhere along a roughly 300-mile (500-kilometer) stretch from the bayous southwest of New Orleans to the Florida Panhandle. The size of the warning area and the storm's wide bands of rain and wind prompted emergency declarations in four states, and hurricane-tested residents were boarding up homes, stocking up on food and water or getting ready to evacuate. Credit: AP

Credit: AP

As part of its just-announced effort to encourage Americans to sign on the dotted line for Obamacare insurance programs, CVS Caremark will invite trained Obamacare "navigators" into stores to assist and facilitate sign-ups for universal health care.

CVS also plans to use pharmacies at its 7,400 North American stores as a "gateway for the uninsured to learn about new coverage options — especially subsidized insurance coverage available to low-income people on state-based insurance exchanges," Politico reported.

As to what and/or who Obamacare "navigators" are:

  • They'll use the new Federal Data Hub, which can access personal information from the likes of the IRS, the Department of Defense, and the Veterans Administration, National Review Online reports.
  • The Department of Health and Human Services adds that no criminal background checks are required for navigators; they won’t even have to have high-school diplomas, NRO says, which has led Republicans to raise concerns that identity thieves and other similar criminals could become navigators.
  • According to the Federal Register, they will earn between $20 and $48 per hour.
  • Navigators need not be licensed agents or brokers and may not be paid by insurance companies, a move that angered many in the industry. Rather they'll come from churches and other community organizations, the Hill adds.
  • They'll prepare for their job ahead via a 20-to-30 hour online course about how the 1,200-page Obamacare law works, NRO says.
  • Navigators will be hired in the 34 states in which the federal government is running Obamacare; HHS is making available $54 million for navigators this year, notes the Credit Union Times.

Helena Foulkes, chief health care strategy and marketing officer at CVS Caremark, told Politico the drugstore giant also will plug Obamacare at "375 health care fairs around the country, particularly in areas with high rates of uninsured people and large minority populations."

Interesting note: Foulkes said materials distributed at CVS pharmacies likely won't refer to "Obamacare" in any way, "but rather point consumers to their state exchanges, which often go by generic names like 'Covered California.'"

(H/T: Weasel Zippers)

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