Last Friday, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon signed a piece of legislation placing requirements on state insurance counselors to become licensed in the health exchange, with enrollment starting Oct. 1.
Developed under the 2010 Affordable Care Act, the exchange aids people in finding affordable healthcare coverage. The counselors, who are commonly called navigators, assist people in sorting through the numerous insurance options and identify if the individuals are eligible to receive tax credits.
With navigators playing an integral role in the health exchange program, The Associated Press reported the new licensing requirement will train Missouri counselors in staying unbiased during the process.
Yet critics suggest the mandate will hinder the implementation of the health exchange in the state. According to The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, restrictions in the law could violate aspects of the ACA. State Sen. Scott Rupp, R-Wentzville, is among those who support the bill. Rupp told the news source the legislation came out of provisions provided by the National Conference of Insurance Legislators in an effort to keep the system fair.
“The state has to have some authority over who are the navigators,” Rupp said. “We have to be able to root out any bad apples.”