State Bill Would Regulate Health Care Navigators

Arizona has joined several other states considering measures that would require extra licensing and background checks for health exchange navigators who help people buy coverage. The state House approved a bill that would require navigators to get a license through the state Department of Insurance and to pass a criminal background check. Proponents say the requirements protect consumers who share private information such as Social Security numbers from identity theft. But Democrats say the bill is an attempt to slow down enrollment and that it’s unnecessary because navigators already have contracts with the federal government. “What we’re doing here is we’re just handling the background checks and licensing to make sure we’re protecting our consumers,” Arizona Rep. Paul Boyer, R-Phoenix, said. Debbie McCune Davis, D-Phoenix, said Arizona gave up its right to license navigators when it failed to adopt its own state insurance exchange program. She said the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has already established guidelines that regulate navigators, and that a judge struck down a similar law in Missouri. The Arizona bill would not impose a fee or extra training but it would bar anyone convicted of a misdemeanor involving fraud or dishonesty from becoming a navigator.

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