Health insurance navigators will soon face more requirements

Written by Ben Allen and Radio Pennsylvania | Jun 19, 2015 2:33 PM

(Harrisburg) --

(UPDATE: Governor Wolf signed the legislation on Friday)

Governor Wolf has signed a bill that will regulate people who help others enroll in health insurance.

The legislation from Republican state Senator John Eichelberger will require health insurance navigators to register with the state, pay for a criminal background check, and submit fingerprints.

Navigators have taken on a more prominent role since the Affordable Care Act was passed in 2010.

Republican State Senator Don White of Butler County says the new requirements would protect Pennsylvania residents.

"And these navigators, let's face it, are privy to some of people's most personal information, especially financial. And as a result, I felt that at least the regulations should be as striden as they are for any normal insurance professional," says White.

White says as a career insurance counselor, he thinks health insurance navigators should face similar requirements.

"There have been problems in other parts of the country with these people, and I think the background check is truly imperative," he adds.

The bill appears to be modeled after one from the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, a conservative nonprofit that usually focuses on cutting regulations.

The full statement from Governor Wolf's press secretary Jeff Sheridan is below: 

"Governor Wolf knows navigators play an important role in educating and enrolling residents, and it is essential that they are able to continue this work. SB 293 complies with federal law, does not include unnecessary barriers for navigators and ensures that Pennsylvania residents have access to high-quality health care."

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