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New Healthcare Navigator Regulations Being Pushed

Xavier Crayton-Bradford
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Missouri State Capitol in Jefferson City, Missouri. Photo: Getty Images,  Jordan McAlister

Missouri State Capitol in Jefferson City, Missouri. Photo: Getty Images, Jordan McAlister

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KMOX/Capitol Bureau) - The House Health Insurance Committee has approved legislation that would require a state-licensed navigator pass a test given by the Insurance Department.

The bill also would require the applicant undergo finger printing for background checks.

Missouri’s legislature approved a measure last year to require navigators be licensed by the state, but there were no specific requirements imposed for getting a license.

In January, a federal court struck down that Missouri law, leaving the fate of this year’s bill in doubt.

A navigator is a position created by the federal Affordable Care Act who assists persons who in dealing with various health insurance plans offered under the federal health exchange.

The sponsor of this year’s bill declined immediate comment on the bill.

Last year, supporters had expressed concern that a navigator might not have sufficient training or background to provide informed advice to persons deciding on a health insurance plan.

“Some of these navigators may have been working at a convenience store yesterday and went and became certified to be a navigator and now they’re going to be advising people and counseling them on insurance in the exchange,” Larry Case, with the Missouri Association of Insurance Agents, said last fall.

Sen. Gina Walsh, D-St. Louis County, said that she did not support the background checks required by this year’s bill, saying that it may stop those with records acquire employment.

According to the The Commonwealth Fund, a private foundation promoting high performance health care systems, seventeen states have passed regulation laws on navigators with nine considering similar legislation.

Another measure approved by the Senate would establish a legal right to sue a navigator for release of private information.

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