Missouri imposes new law on health insurance navigators

Missouri Health Insurance

Health insurance navigators to seek state licensure

A new law has been passed in Missouri that placed a strict requirement for counselors seeking to participate in the state’s health insurance exchange. These counselors, often called health insurance navigators, are meant to provide consumers with guidance concerning the policies offered through the state’s exchange program. Navigators are considered to be a boon by the federal government as they could help consumers find the best policies that suit their needs, thereby making health insurance exchanges more effective in their purpose.

Law aims to introduce new consumer protections

Governor Jay Nixon signed a new law that requires all health insurance navigators in the state to receive licensing for their service by the state itself. The law is meant to ensure that navigators adhere to a certain standard and could help boost consumer’s confidence in the services they receive through the state’s exchange. While Missouri has opted to allow the federal government to build and manage a health insurance exchange in the state, lawmakers till have the capacity to institute some regulations when it comes to the exchange system.

Missouri Health InsuranceLaw may make it difficult to build a health insurance exchange

Opponents of the new law suggest that it will create some difficulty in establishing a health insurance exchange in the state. Health insurance navigators are already required to be trained by the federal government for a minimum of 30 hours. By imposing state licensure, an extra layer of regulations could prolong the training process and mean that navigators may not be ready to participate in the state’s exchange by October 1 of this year, when the exchange is scheduled to begin open enrollment.

State licensure may help navigators cater to Missouri’s needs

Lawmakers supporting the law suggest that the law introduces a necessary level of consumer protection. Because the health insurance exchange is being managed by the federal government, it is not being developed to meet the specific needs of Missouri. State licensure for navigators may help ensure that Missouri consumers receive the best options through the federal exchange by ensuring that these navigators are well acclimated to the needs of the state itself.

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