Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced Thursday that navigator grants have been awarded in the federal and state partnership exchange states to the tune of $67 million. “We’re on schedule … and we’ll be ready on Oct. 1,” she said on a conference call announcing the grants to 105 navigator organizations across the 36 states that will benefit from the funding

The online-based navigator training will “begin later this month,” according to Chiquita Brooks -LaSure, deputy director of policy and regulation at the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight. It will take approximately 20 hours to complete, on the lower end of what was previously estimated by the CMS as a training process of 20-30 hours.

“Navigators are trained to provide unbiased information in a culturally competent manner to consumers about health insurance, the new Health Insurance Marketplaces, qualified health plans, and public programs including Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program,” CMS outlined in a statement about the program.

Brooks-LaSure acknowledged that with navigator training beginning in August, it is a little later than the administration anticipated but insisted that “once trained, they’ll be able to start activities” and be ready for Oct. 1 open enrollment.

Broker and agent training for the federal and partnership exchanges went live on Aug. 1 and more information can be accessed here.

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