Navigators may be held to a higher standard in Texas
The Texas Department of Insurance has proposed new requirements of health insurance navigators that will be working in the state’s insurance exchange. These navigators are a part of the Affordable Care Act and exist to provide assistance to consumers that are seeking coverage through the state-based exchange. Navigators can only work with non-profit organizations that have no affiliation with insurance companies and are subject to a federally mandated 40 hours of training before they can assist consumers.
Agency wants more thorough background checks and additional training
The Texas Department of Insurance believes that navigators must be held to a higher standard and has proposed that these individuals be subjected to extensive background checks and an additional 40 hours worth of training before they can participate in the state’s health insurance exchange. The agency claims that the extensive testing and registration of navigators is necessary to avoid problems concerning “wrongful acts” that may compromise the financial security of consumers.
Loopholes may expose consumers to risk
Insurance Commissioner Julia Rathgeber claims to have discovered loopholes in the Affordable Care Act concerning navigators. One of these alleged loopholes involves navigators not being subjected to a criminal background check before they are hired. Navigators with a criminal history represent some degree of risk, according to Texas officials, which could open consumers up to exploitation.
Federal officials criticize Texas initiative
Texas has been working to institute higher requirements for insurance navigators for some time. The initiative has been criticized by the federal government as a ploy to delay the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Federal officials suggest that the higher requirements for navigators operating in Texas will make it more difficult for consumers to find the insurance coverage they need through the state’s exchange. Texas officials, however, argue that the initiative is meant to keep consumers safe and rectify the loopholes that exist in the Affordable Care Act.