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You are here: www.tdi.texas.gov . news . 2013 . news201353

December 03, 2013

TDI Proposes Navigator Rules To Protect Texas Consumers

AUSTIN - The Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) has proposed rules to strengthen protections for consumers who seek assistance from federal health exchange navigators. The rules propose criminal background checks, privacy training, proof of identity, and evidence of financial responsibility for individuals providing the navigator assistance.

"In Texas, we are being vigilant about safeguarding privacy and keeping personal information out of the wrong hands," Commissioner of Insurance Julia Rathgeber said. "These proposed rules address insufficiencies in federal regulations and make the training and qualifications of navigators in our state more readily apparent to consumers and service providers."

Senate Bill (SB) 1795 passed by the 83rd Texas Legislature requires the Commissioner of Insurance to set standards ensuring that navigators can perform their required duties if federal standards are determined to be insufficient.TDI posted an outline of concerns with federal regulation of navigators on November 15, 2013, following an informal stakeholder meeting conducted on September 30, 2013.

Under the proposed rules, entities and individuals providing enrollment assistance in the federal health exchange would be required to register with TDI.

Requirements for navigator registrations would include:

  • Proof of U.S. citizenship or immigration status to obtain employment in U.S.
  • Documentation of compliance with education requirements
  • Fingerprinting and background check
  • Evidence of financial responsibility to protect individuals against wrongful acts

Navigators would be prohibited from the following:

  • Charging consumers for providing information about health coverage
  • Selling, soliciting, or negotiating health insurance coverage
  • Recommending a specific health benefit plan
  • Providing advice regarding substantive benefits or comparative benefits of different health plans
  • Engaging in electioneering activities or financing or otherwise supporting the candidacy of an individual for government positions

Under the proposed rules, Texas Insurance Code provisions related to privacy and protection of personal information would also apply to navigators.

The rules have been submitted to the Texas Register for publication on Friday, December 6. A public hearing will be held on December 20; public comments will be accepted through January 6, 2014. To view the proposed rules, please visit: http://www.tdi.texas.gov/rules/2013/documents/navproposal.pdf.

Last updated: 09/06/2014

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