Stricter regulations for navigators are being introduced in many states
Lawmakers in many states throughout the U.S. are beginning to scrutinize insurance navigators with more intensity. These navigators work as part of state health insurance exchanges and are affiliated with non-profit organizations per the provisions of the Affordable Care Act. The role of a navigator is quite simple: They are meant to provide assistance to people that are trying to find coverage through their state’s insurance exchange. The federal guidelines that determine who can and cannot be a navigator are quite lax, which is why some lawmakers have taken it upon themselves to institute somewhat strict regulations concerning the matter.
State lawmakers seek to impose higher standards on navigators in order to protect consumers
More than 12 states have, to date, passed laws that place stricter requirements on insurance navigators. Lawmakers often claim that more regulation of navigators is necessary in order to preserve consumer safety. Many state lawmakers are beginning to push for navigators to submit to criminal background checks before they can be licensed to work in any given state. Federal law does not require people to submit to a criminal background check before they become insurance navigators.
Lack of regulation could leave consumers exposed to exploitation
State lawmakers suggest that lack of regulation could leave consumers exposed to exploitation. Navigators are meant to work with consumers and direct them to insurance policies that best suit their needs, financially and otherwise. These insurance policies are available through state-based exchange networks, which themselves are populated by licensed insurance companies. Because navigators are meant to help guide consumers to particular insurance policies, they are barred by federal law from associating themselves with insurance companies and even state agencies. Instead, navigators can only work with non-profit organizations that have been approved by the federal government.
Higher regulations expected to become more common
While regulations may be in place the mitigate any fraudulent and criminal activity, state lawmakers throughout the country are still concerned with consumer protection. Laws that place more stringent regulations on navigators are likely to become more common, even in states that have not traditionally opposed the Affordable Care Act.