Health insurance navigators targeted by new HHS rule

U.S. Health Insurance

U.S. Health InsuranceStates continue to express concerns over health insurance provisions of federal law

The Affordable Care Act continues to be a controversial issue throughout much of the U.S. Many states have opted to oppose the law as a whole on general principle, while the majority of the country has raised concerns over the lack of guidance being offered by the federal government, especially in terms of health insurance. These states argue that much of the federal law is left vague in a misguided attempt to allow states to comply with the law as they see fit, a concept that has proven confusing as the law itself requires interpretation from the federal government.

HHS issues new rule concerning navigators

In order to address one of the many concerns that states have concerning some of the health insurance provisions of the law, the Department of Health and Human Services has issued a new rule concerning the use of health insurance “navigators.” These navigators have become popularized over the past year, existing as consumer advocates that help people find the health insurance coverage that is most suitable to their needs. These navigators are meant to help consumers understand the Affordable Care Act and the protections that it offers them, as well as highlight the potential pitfalls they may encounter in compliance with the federal law.

Navigators must be volunteers

Several states have raised concerns over the use of health insurance navigators, suggesting that these individuals could simply be paid off by insurance companies to direct more consumers to particular policies. In order to placate these concerns, the new rule is meant to determine who can and cannot be a navigator. The rule declares that health insurance navigators working in any official capacity must be volunteers. These volunteers will be trained by federal representatives in order to understand the law and how to help consumers find the coverage they need.

Agents will not be forced to compete with navigators

As volunteers, health insurance navigators will not be associated with the business of selling policies. This rule is expected to help several states become more comfortable with the idea of navigators, but it will also likely be received as good news for insurance agents. Agents have many concerns regarding the Affordable Care Act and how it may affect their livelihoods. Navigators had once represented a new level of competition, one that was meant to be backed by both federal and state governments. The new rule ensures that agents will not have to compete with navigators in any serious capacity.

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