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California Commissioner Warns of “Immense Consumer Fraud” by Navigators

California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones said he was “just shocked that groups that represent the consumer interest summarily dismiss what I think is a very real probability of immense consumer fraud...”
March 20, 2013

California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones said he was “just shocked that groups that represent the consumer interest summarily dismiss what I think is a very real probability of immense consumer fraud.”

Jones is referring to plans to conduct fingerprinting and background checks on some 20,000 “assisters” that will be needed to sign up millions of Californians seeking health insurance through the state’s new exchange. “I’m very concerned we will have a host of problems without a system of background checks, fingerprinting and monitoring, which weeds out criminals,” Jones said. “Regrettably, we see far too many cases of identity theft, embezzlement, and outright fraud.”

Health insurance agents in the state undergo fingerprinting and background checks every two years. But plans to check the backgrounds of unlicensed navigators or “assisters” are drawing howls of protest from some California consumer activists. These enrollers, who will earn $58 from the state for every application completed, would have access to highly sensitive consumer information such as Social Security numbers, dates of birth, income data and tax returns. California insurance officials, insurance agents and other patient advocates say they are surprised by the level of resistance to rigorous screening. The board that governs the state’s exchange is expected to discuss the matter next week.

Call for Screening Enrollers Meets Resistance (Los Angeles Times 3/15/13)

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