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Texas Seeks to Impose Strict Rules for ACA Navigators

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Posted: Dec 3, 2013 3:27 PM

Updated: Dec 3, 2013 4:00 PM

WESLACO - Texas insurance officials want to add several requirements for Affordable Care Act navigators. The navigators are people hired by the federal government to help people figure out insurance options under the ACA, also known as Obamacare.

People in Texas who want to sign up for insurance through Obamacare have to go through a federal exchange. The government's website, healthcare.gov has been plagued with problems since its rollout on Oct. 1.

The federal government is giving millions of dollars in grant money to various organizations to hire and train the navigators. On Tuesday the Texas insurance commissioner said there are several problems with the federal standards for those navigators.

Texas is proposing a new set of standards.

The insurance commissioner said one of the main problems is that the federal standards are hidden in confidential contracts that are not available to public review. Texas officials said, as a result, it's unclear what standards are in place and if they are being applied to all navigators.

Texas officials said a major flaw is that the federal standards do not require criminal background checks for the navigators.

Texas officials want to require an additional 40 hours of navigator training on state Medicaid privacy and other rules. On top of that, organizations that employ navigators would have to take out their own liability insurance to protect consumers against wrongful acts of negligence by navigators.

Local navigator groups said those requirements may become an impossible hurdle for them because of the added expense.

A hearing on the adoption of the proposed rules is set for Dec. 20 in Austin.

Topics: aca, obamacare, texas, navigator

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