Because the launch of the federal health care exchange has been mired by many deficiencies, the navigator program becomes increasingly important as a means to prop up enrollment. This fact is well-documented by a recent report in The Wall Street Journal, “Health-Site Flaws Put Navigators on Front Lines”
By law, the navigators are funded through federal grants, and their job is to steer people to sign up for coverage on an exchange. Federal law and rules, however, neither define sufficient training or standards, nor do they ensure that navigators will properly handle personal information. This gives rise to legitimate concerns about the potential for fraud and identity theft.
In 2013, the Texas Legislature passed SB 1795 to regulate navigators at the state level. Conservatives amended SB 1795 to prohibit navigators from engaging in electioneering but more must be done through state regulatory bodies to ensure that their activities are scrutinized and their conduct is held to high standards particularly in regards to privacy.
Read the recent letter from the Texas Department of Insurance, which substantiates “insufficiencies” in federal rules & regulations and announces the agency’s plan to proceed with state-level oversight.