Controversial Navigators Are Central In Health Law's Outreach Efforts

State officials opposed to federal overhaul target nonprofit groups that the federal government is counting on to help consumers.

The Associated Press: Groups Race To Hire, Train 'Obamacare' Guides
With the program known as "Obamacare" only weeks away from its key launch date, hectic preparations are in motion in communities across the country to deal with one of its major practical challenges: hiring and training a small army of instant experts who can explain the intricacies of health insurance to people who've never had it. More than 100 nonprofits and related organizations, which specialize in everything from running soup kitchens to organizing farm workers, have been recruited by the federal government to sign up "navigators" to help the 30 million uninsured people who can now gain coverage (Johnson, 9/9).

Stateline: Health Insurance Navigators Draw State Scrutiny
At least 16 states have passed or are considering laws to regulate navigators' work. Many have imposed their own certification and licensing requirements, a process that critics say could hinder the availability of navigators. Georgia's insurance commissioner, for example, has said he will require navigators to pass the same test as insurance brokers, even though federal law makes a clear distinction between navigators and brokers (Ollove, 9/9).

Clarksburg W.Va. Gazette Mail: Rockefeller: Morrisey Intimidated Health Group Over ACA
A Clarksburg-based nonprofit group has abruptly declined a $365,000 federal grant to help West Virginians sign up for health insurance plans under the Affordable Care Act. The decision by West Virginia Parent Training and Information Inc. came a week after state Attorney General Patrick Morrisey directed the nonprofit group to answer 26 questions about the group's personnel and hiring practices. ... Morrisey, who has called for repealing the federal health-care law, is reviewing organizations that are helping to walk people through their health insurance options. Morrisey said the groups' employees could steal personal information, such as Social Security numbers and tax documents, from people who apply for health insurance under the ACA (Eyre, 9/7).

Baltimore Sun: Maryland Seeks Out Uninsured To Inform About Health Reform
As Maryland health officials prepare for nationwide health reform, the goal is clear: enrolling the state's estimated 800,000 uninsured residents. But finding them is a challenge. There is no master list or map of the uninsured, who make up 14 percent of the state's population. And though census data can identify concentrations, including those in Baltimore City, Prince George's County and the rural Eastern Shore, it doesn't provide detailed information about neighborhoods that should be targeted (Dance, 9/7).

Kansas City Star: Health Care Marketplace Will Be Here Before Long
At the Kansas City CARE Clinic on Broadway, the waiting room is half full: the young, the old, the in-between, all seeking time with a doctor or nurse. In the corner, a large sign. "The health insurance marketplace is coming!" it says. "¡El mercado de seguro de salud está viniendo!" (Helling, 9/7).

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