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Remove All References to "Navigators" From PPACA, OK Commissioner Says

The insurance commissioner of Oklahoma wants Congress to remove all references to "navigators" from the federal health reform law. In comments to the National Association...
April 26, 2011

The insurance commissioner of Oklahoma wants Congress to remove all references to "navigators" from the federal health reform law. In comments to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners regarding the role of navigators, John D. "Okie" Doak advocates on behalf of license insurance agents in facilitating enrollment in health plans under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), passed in March 2010.

In a letter to the NAIC, Doak said "The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act should be changed to delete any reference to navigators." Short of that, he says any person placing insurance through the exchanges must be licensed by the state insurance department as a producer or broker. He characterizes navigators as "more of an educational resource, more akin to a health insurance ombudsman."

"Agents and brokers have long served to navigate individuals and employers through the maze of insurance options and to 'facilitate' enrollment into insurance products," Doak wrote. "They are also specifically authorized, in Section 1312 of the [PPACA], to enroll an individual or an employer through the exchange and to assist individuals in applying for tax credits and cost-sharing reductions for plans sold through the exchange. Not just 'facilitate' enrollment, but actually enroll them."

What It Means to Agents: Commissioner Doak has a good idea. The concept of "navigators" as expressed in the healthcare law is unclear. They are described as individuals performing many of the functions of agents and brokers, but are not required to be licensed as agents or brokers. Removing references to navigators would make it clear that licensed agents and brokers will perform those functions.

Read how OK Commissioner stands up for agents in Okla. Regulator: Delete "Navigators" From Health Law (Ins. & Financial Advisor 4/20/11)

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