U.S. Representative

Dennis A. Ross

Proudly Serving Florida's 15th Congressional District

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Ross Introduces Bill to Fix the Safety Concerns with Obamacare’s “Navigator” Program

H.R. 3299 Prohibits Access to Consumers’ Personal Information Without Consent and Ensures that Obamacare “Navigators” Undergo Background Checks

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WASHINGTON, Oct 22, 2013 | Katie Hughes | comments
U.S. Rep. Dennis Ross (FL-15) introduced the Security Before Access Act (H.R. 3299). This legislation will address the inherent inadequacies in the structure, security, and integrity of the “Navigator” program created under the Affordable Care Act.

The original purpose of the “Navigator” program is to help consumers understand their health insurance coverage options and assist with enrollment. The people who are serving as Navigators for consumers have unsupervised access to consumers’ personal information (such as name, address, financial statements, tax returns, social security numbers, etc.) and in many cases haven’t been screened for prior criminal history.

H.R. 3299, the Security Before Access Act, would create licensing requirements for individuals seeking to become Navigators, including background checks. This bill will also allow consumers to opt out of the Affordable Care Act individual mandate for insurance coverage until Congress has been assured that the “Navigator” program is secure and has fully-implemented security protocols in place.

“Ever since Obamacare was first implemented, there have been serious problems,” said Ross. “Since the president won’t eliminate his signature bill, we need to address some of its most glaring safety issues. There have been reports from across the country that some of the people helping consumers enroll in the Affordable Health Care Act have outstanding warrants for their arrest. There is a lack of security surrounding people’s personal information in the Affordable Care Act which could lead to identity theft of grand proportions. My bill will keep people’s personal information personal and will provide oversight for one security aspect of this problem-prone legislation that is Obamacare.”


Background:
  • Click here for the text of H.R. 3299, the Security Before Access Act.
  • The government is spending $67 million on the “Navigator” program to help people enroll in Obamacare.
  • H.R. 3299, the Security Before Access Act amends Section 340A of the Public Health Service Act:
    • The Secretary of HHS must require all recipients of the Navigator grants to comply with the provisions of this act in order to protect the privacy of personal information (i.e.: Social Security Number, biometric records, date of birth).
      • Prohibits Navigator access without explicit consumer consent
        • Certified application counselors, health insurance navigators, and non-navigator assistance personnel (“Navigator Personnel”) must obtain the express, written consent of the consumer prior to accessing his or her personally identifiable information.
      • Licensing requirements for Navigators -
        • A criminal background and finger-print check within 60 days of Navigator-related activities.
        • Successfully completed/obtained the same or comparable federal and state educational and licensure requirements currently in place for health insurance agents and brokers.
          • NOTE: Some states currently require background checks for Navigators, but there is no federal requirement. H.R. 3299 would create a federal requirement.
      • Liability
        • Within 90 days of enactment, the Secretary must issue guidance on how liabilities and penalties will be applied in the event of a failure to comply with these provisions.
          • Assesses liability in the form of monetary and criminal penalties, and requires the Secretary to determine as whether liability lies with the Navigator grantee or the individual Navigator in the event of fraud and/or negligence.
      • Consumer opt out
        • Consumers may opt out of the Affordable Care Act requirement to obtain health insurance coverage until the Secretary has demonstrated that comprehensive personal identity protections are in place.

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