Republican senators slammed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s navigator program Thursday arguing that the rule is so lenient that a convicted felon could qualify as a navigator and get access to consumers’ confidential health information.
In a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, nine senators — led by Finance Committee Ranking Member Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) — wrote that the program lacked appropriate safeguards to protect the privacy of consumers and demanded more details on its requirements.
Established under PPACA, the navigator program provides grants to organizations to help individuals enroll in the new health insurance plans through exchanges. In April, HHS announced the availability of $54 million in funding to support navigators.
The navigators are expected to provide “fair, impartial and accurate information that assists consumers with submitting the eligibility application, clarifying distinctions among [qualified health plans] and helping qualified individuals make informed decisions during the health plan selection process.” They also will provide additional assistance to consumers with disabilities, limited proficiency in English or who are unfamiliar with health insurance.