House panel finds fault with health law navigators
A U.S. House panel has accused Affordable Care Act navigators of committing many errors and putting private information at risk. Navigators are responsible for helping consumers enroll in health plans.
Documents released with the panel’s report contend that the navigators have been giving enrollees incorrect information, and haven’t sufficiently protected consumers’ health information, Social Security numbers, yearly income and other tax information, The Hill reported.
“Documents call into question the effectiveness of the Navigator program and the Obama administration’s ability to safeguard consumer information,” the committee report concluded.
The report alleged that some navigators also “encouraged consumers to commit tax fraud by under-reporting income in order to qualify for Obamacare’s health insurance subsidies.”
The report, issued by the House Oversight Committee led by Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., also said some navigators violated rules by mailing in consumers’ paper applications instead of the applicants posting them as required by the healthcare law.
Joanne Peters, Health and Human Services spokeswoman said navigators weren’t any different from Medicare counselors who have “operated effectively for years.”
“We take any alleged impropriety seriously and take immediate action in cases where navigators have failed to live up to their responsibilities,” Peters wrote The Hill in an email. “This is just the latest attempt to try to prevent Americans from accessing the quality, affordable coverage available to them under the healthcare law.”
Health and Human Service Secretary Kathleen Sebelius criticized the report, saying that the GOP committee chairman was trying to undermine the law.