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Which way do we go? Obamacare navigator registration in TN in question

By   /   October 11, 2013  /   Comments Off

By Chris Butler | Tennessee Watchdog

NASHVILLE — A federal judge in Nashville has placed a temporary restraining order on certain state rules designed to regulate Obamacare navigators.

But anyone who handles another person’s personal, financial or medical information must still register and undergo a criminal background check, an official with the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance told Tennessee Watchdog.

According to the Affordable Care Act, navigators are charged with teaching the uninsured about the availability of qualified health plans

Members of the Service Employees International Union Local 205 filed a lawsuit in federal court against the regulations.

RULING: A judge at the federal courthouse in Nashville has issued a temporary restraining order on rules designed to regulate Obamacare navigators in Tennessee.

RULING: A judge at the federal courthouse in Nashville has issued a temporary restraining order on rules designed to regulate Obamacare navigators in Tennessee.

On its website, union members said the law might penalize a librarian, health-care worker or family member for offering guidance to people who want to sign up for Obamacare.  

U.S. District Judge Todd Campbell heard the case and issued the temporary restraining order, saying state language defining who is and isn’t a navigator is too broad.

Tennessee Watchdog asked TDCI spokeswoman Katelyn Abernathy whether the state would penalize members of churches or unions if they helped someone sign up for Obamacare, possibly with a $1,000 fine.

“Churches and unions never had to be registered unless they were a navigator or certified application counselor organization,” Abernathy said.

“The registration process applies only to federally certified navigators and certified application counselors. The federal ruling doesn’t change the registration process or who is being registered.

A representative of the SEIU Local 205 did not respond to a message seeking comment.

As Tennessee Watchdog previously reported, Tennessee — like states such as Ohio and Missouri — is imposing the registration rules on Obamacare navigators

“We want to deter bad actors from assuming the role of navigator and taking advantage of Tennesseans,” Abernathy said at the time.

“The registration process with TDCI ensures that individuals with criminal records are not allowed to be in these positions and it reinforces the prohibition of selling, soliciting, or the negotiation of any policy of insurance by a navigator.”

Contact Christopher Butler at chris@tennesseewatchdog.org

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