New Rules For Texas Obamacare Navigators
by John Cornyn on January 22, 2014 at 9:42 AM
The Texas Department of Insurance has adopted state-specific rules for Obamacare navigators in Texas. I’m glad to see Texas taking the steps Secretary Sebelius failed to take to safeguard Texans’ personal information. Obamacare presents enough problems for Texans without the risk of a convicted felon handling their personal information. These are basic requirements for screening individuals hired with taxpayer money to handle sensitive consumer information, and there is no excuse for the Obama Administration's failure to implement them from day one.
For individual navigators who provide enrollment assistance in a health benefit exchange, the rules require background checks, training, and proof of identity. In a Nov. 6, 2013 hearing of the U.S. Senate Finance Committee, I asked Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius about federal requirements for screening navigators:
Cornyn: "Isn't it true that there is no federal requirement for navigators to undergo a criminal background, even though they will receive personal -- sensitive personal information from the individuals they helped sign up for the Affordable Care Act?"
Sebelius: "That is true. States could add an additional background check and other features, but it is not part of the federal requirement."
Cornyn: "So a convicted felon could be a navigator and could acquire sensitive personal information from an individual, unbeknownst to them."
Sebelius: "That is possible. We have contracts with the organizations, and they have taken the responsibility to screen their individual navigators and make sure that they are sufficiently trained for the job."