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PIA National Prompts Call in Congress for Tough Standards for Navigators

An intensive lobbying effort by PIA National has resulted in 33 Members of Congress sending a letter to Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, pressing her on standards for healthcare Navigators...
June 13, 2013

An intensive lobbying effort by PIA National has resulted in 33 Members of Congress sending a letter to Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, pressing her on standards for healthcare Navigators. The June 7 letter to Sebelius states that when it comes to helping consumers determine the best plan that suits their needs, “…it is our position that the complexities of these plans are best handled by those who are trained and state-certified to sell such products—licensed insurance agents or brokers.” Navigators will assist in the enrollment of millions of Americans in healthcare plans through Exchanges, now referred to as “Marketplaces,” under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

The June 7 letter to Sebelius notes that under proposed HHS rules, Navigators will not be allowed to assist [consumers] with determining the appropriate plan. PIA noted that while it is appropriate that unlicensed Navigators or assisters not be permitted to make plan recommendations, this puts the consumer in the position of lacking needed information.

“According to the National Association of Professional Insurance Agents,” the letter to HHS Secretary Sebelius says, “this scenario can be expected to be common and it is our position that the complexities of these plans are best handled by those who are trained and state-certified to sell such products—licensed insurance agents or brokers.”

“Additionally, insurance agents and brokers carry Errors and Omission (E&O) insurance to protect not just themselves, but consumers from any accidental wrongdoing,” the letter continues. “In the event that an error occurs, consumers have recourse to recoup any losses that they may have endured. It is our understanding that your Department will not recommend E&O coverage for Navigators, resulting in possible large gaps in consumer protections.”

What It Means to Agents: Your PIA association is working diligently and effectively in Congress to defend your business interests and protect your clients. PIA convinced these Members of Congress to press the Obama administration on the need for appropriate consumer protections regarding Navigators. These lawmakers also endorsed agents and brokers as being best to advise consumers of all of their healthcare choices, including those in the private market.

PIA National thanks Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) and the 32 other Members of Congress for sharing PIA’s concerns and raising these issues with HHS.

Congressional Letter to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius (Full text 6/7/13)
PIA Thanks Rep. Duncan Hunter for Asking Tough Healthcare Questions about Navigators (PIA press release 6/7/13)

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