The National Association of Social Workers on October 16 hosted a webinar with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the Council on Social Work Education, and the Society for Social Work Leadership in Health Care on the topic of social workers serving as a Certified Application Counselor (CAC).
These counselors would help enroll people during the second Affordable Care Act open enrollment season beginning Nov. 15. The following Q&A was adapted from that webinar:
Q: How do CAC programs work?
A: CACs provide free, unbiased assistance to consumers applying for and enrolling in health coverage. CAC programs exist in every state, but the rules and training requirements vary. In states where the federal government operates the health insurance marketplace, or a federally facilitated marketplace (FFM), individuals who want to become CACs must apply through a CAC organization. Many kinds of organizations can become CAC organizations, including community health centers, faith-based organizations, health and behavioral care providers, community-based organizations, and city health departments. Organizations that want to become a CAC organization complete an online application that must be approved by the marketplace. Once approved, the CAC organization can certify staff or volunteers as individual CACs. Read this fact sheet for more information on CAC organizations. In states that run their own marketplaces, or state-based marketplaces (SBMs), there are different requirements for certifying and training CACs. Read this fact sheet for more information on SBMs and state-by-state information.
Q: What are CAC duties?
A: To become a CAC, individuals must complete a free online training course and pass an exam. Once certified, a CAC will:
- Help consumers apply for and enroll in health coverage through marketplaces, Medicaid, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program.
- Work with consumers to help them understand their insurance coverage.
- Agree to work in the best interest of the consumer, without steering them to specific plans.
Q: I want to be a CAC but I am not employed by a CAC-sponsoring organization. What options do I have?
A: You can contact designated CAC organizations in your area to learn more about CAC volunteer opportunities. To find contact information for current CAC organizations in FFM states, go to Find Local Help and enter your city and state and zip code to find CAC organizations near you. To find organizations in SBM states, go to the SBM website for information about the CAC program in that state. For links to each SBM’s website, go to this website.
To learn more about Certified Application Counselor and other positions visit this website. This Kaiser Family Foundation website will also help you determine whether your state has a federally facilitated/partnership marketplace (FFM) or a state-based marketplace (SBM).