The federal exchange navigators will have a lot of work ahead of them, and a few at the very top will get paid up to $48 an hour.

According to newly released projections from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the federal navigators hired to help Americans buy insurance on the coming exchanges will provide 1.7 million "help" sessions a year.

A navigator will likely spend an average of one hour per client, with about 10 minutes of each hour being devoted to recordkeeping. The exchanges are at first expected to generally serve uninsured individuals buying coverage, rather than employers.

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Allison Bell

Allison Bell, a senior reporter at ThinkAdvisor and BenefitsPRO, previously was an associate editor at National Underwriter Life & Health. She has a bachelor's degree in economics from Washington University in St. Louis and a master's degree in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. She can be reached through X at @Think_Allison.