Texas hospital officials criticize proposal to limit Obamacare navigators

Published on January 7, 2014 at 1:40 PM · No Comments

Texas hospital officials and Democrats complained about proposed state legislation to impose greater training requirements and fees on navigators, while a Florida group gets a grant for outreach to Hispanics. Meanwhile, California exchange officials extended the payment deadline for January premiums because of continuing glitches and a Minnesota auditor probes the troubled launch of the MNsure website.

The Dallas Morning News: Hospital Officials, Advocates Lament Proposed Limits On Obamacare 'Navigators'
Hospital officials, Democratic lawmakers and advocates for the poor complained Monday that the state's proposed rule on health insurance "navigators" could cripple efforts to educate Texans about their coverage options. At a final hearing and in written comments submitted by Monday's deadline, critics called the Texas Department of Insurance's proposed licensing and training requirements an over-reaction -- and a poorly written one, at that. They pleaded for Insurance Commissioner Julia Rathgeber to refine her rule so it would pinpoint, but not impair, the people hired under federal grants to help people sign up for insurance through the Affordable Care Act (Garrett, 1/6).

Texas Tribune: Democrats Say Navigator Rules Are Politically Motivated
Saying that proposed state rules for the federal navigator program are politically motivated and would create unnecessary training requirements and registration fees, Democratic legislators on Monday pushed Texas Department of Insurance officials to justify their plan (Aaronson, 1/6).

Los Angeles Times: Hiccups Persist In California Health Insurance Exchange
Paperwork and computer glitches are still tripping up some eager consumers who are seeking coverage through California's insurance exchange and its 11 health plans. On Monday, the Covered California exchange said that all the applications it received online for coverage starting Jan. 1 have been sent to participating insurers, but that it is still sorting through an unspecified number of paper applications for that time period. In light of that delay, last weekend the state exchange extended the payment deadline for January premiums by nine days to Jan. 15 (Terhune, 1/6).

The Star Tribune: State Auditor Plans A Full-Throttle Investigation Of Mnsure Launch
With Minnesotans still experiencing problems with the MNsure website, the state's legislative auditor said Monday he is planning a full-throttle investigation, starting with the vendors that received tens of millions of dollars to build the state's new health insurance exchange. Jim Nobles said the first phase will focus on whether the IT contractors delivered on their promises and whether the state kept a close enough eye on their work. "It's fine to question the performance of the contractor," Nobles said in an interview. "We'll do that. But one of the worst things you can do in managing these contracts is to stand on the sidelines with the hope that things will go well. You've got to be actively managing and verifying" (Crosby, 1/6). 

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