House Lawmakers Grill CMS Over Health Exchange Navigators

Margaret Dick Tocknell, for HealthLeaders Media , May 22, 2013

The role of navigators, expected to help millions of uninsured make their way through the health insurance market, came under fire Tuesday by members of Congress who raised questions about oversight and the role of the IRS in the implementation of healthcare reform.

A meeting of the House Committee on Government Oversight and Reform called ostensibly to discuss the role that navigators and assistors will play in the enrollment process for new health insurance marketplaces included statements and questions about role the IRS is expected to play in the implementation of healthcare reform.

See Also: What About the Insurance Exchanges?

The meeting veered further off topic into concerns over the fundraising efforts of Kathleen Sebelius, the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services.

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), chair of the Subcommittee on Economic Growth, Job Creation, and Regulatory Affairs, set the Republican tone in his opening comments. "In light of the revelations of the IRS targeting conservative groups… it is crucial for the American people to understand that Obamacare tasks the IRS with enforcing nearly 20 new tax laws. That's amazing to me. The very organization charged with enforcing Obamacare was systematically targeting conservative groups that came into existence because they oppose Obamacare."

Jordan stated that the IRS role in enforcing Obamacare is tied to the navigator and assistor program through the premium subsidies that will be available to qualified individuals. "If [they] incorrectly fill out a person's health insurance application, and that person receives subsidies to which they are not entitled, then the IRS will go after the individual."

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2 comments on "House Lawmakers Grill CMS Over Health Exchange Navigators"

ibjim (5/24/2013 at 6:56 PM)
The process for signing up for healthcare insurance under Obamacare will be greatly simplified. The exchanges are set up to compare apples to apples, etc, much different than today's complex health insurance offerings. You should look at some of the sample marketplace exchanges that are in demonstration mode already around the country - the Kaiser Foundation, Cover Oregon, Washington Health Exchange, etc. Put in your information, decide your level of coverage, choose your plan, sign up, pay the first premium, presto, you're done.

Rod Humphrey (5/22/2013 at 2:07 PM)
I feel as though the only ones that should be able to be properly skilled enough would be currently Licensed Health Agents, as they not only have 24 Hours of Continuing education requirements Yearly, but have local basic market knowledge to know which products would be best for each and every individual, whereas churches and non profits have very little expertise in this arena, and even 20 hours of training, isn't going to be any even be enough to scratch the surface of the knowledge level required especially since many states have opted out of their own State sponsored Exchanges as Pennsylvania has for example, and no guidance is yet available as of this date for the Federal exchanges availability as of yet either! Let the Pros handle it, they're already licensed!!!! Felons are not allowed to be licensed in any state to my knowledge, so that would take care of that, and there is oversight of licensed agents already in place via the appropriate states!




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