Ohio lawmakers feel that the upcoming health insurance exchanges, encouraged through the Affordable Care Act, will need some regulations in place to direct the healthcare navigators which will be guiding small businesses and individuals through the exchanges. According to Kate Irby’s December 6th article “Ohio House OKs Regulations to Help Guide Businesses on Obamacare Insurance Exchanges” on Cleveland.com, the Ohio House approved the Republican sponsored House Bill 613 earlier this month and it’s on its way to the Senate for further review.
Most legislators see the value in the healthcare navigators but some Democrats believe it’s too early to set up regulations for the navigators when the health insurance exchanges have yet to be established. Democratic Rep. John Carney from Columbus points out it’s even more premature since the Kasich administration is leaning towards using the health insurance exchange developed through the federal government as opposed to setting up an Ohio-based exchange.
Republican Rep. Barbara Sears from Monclova Township is the sponsor of the bill and states that House Bill 613 is the first step towards declaring state authority over navigators and the exchange. She goes on to say this is the only step they will be taking at this time. It’s a way to allow more control over the exchanges even if they end up using the federal program. It seems this could help focus navigators and ensure everyone is on the same page as they direct consumers.
There are multiple facets to this bill that make it important to the Republican platform and the strength of Ohio health insurance. The state’s superintendent of insurance would have to set up a certification and training program for navigators so they can adequately advise small businesses and individuals through the possibly complicated health insurance exchange. These navigators will not be allowed to personally sell or negotiate health insurance plans and they will have to disclose any conflicts of interest they may have.
Written by Sam Tabes
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Tags: health care reform, health insurance exchanges, house bill 613, ohio health insurance