Last Thursday, Nebraska lawmakers came to an agreement on which elements of the state’s benefits exchange local navigators will oversee.
While Nebraska opted to let the federal government create and operate its insurance marketplace, the state is among seven that have received approval from the Department of Health and Human Services to take the reigns on some plan management responsibilities.
Under the terms of the recent compromise, the Nebraska Department of Insurance will register and regulate navigators, who are employed by the state to help educate residents about the exchange and other elements of healthcare reform, Omaha World-Herald stated.
The agreement comes nearly a month after legislators advanced a bill to let Nebraska representatives – small-business owners, residents and health industry professionals – offer the federal government health reform implementation suggestions, according to The Associated Press.
Sen. Burke Harr recently proposed a bill that would require navigators undergo training and background checks, as well as obtain certain educational qualifications. In addition, candidates would have to pay a $50 licensure fee and face up to $1,000 in penalties for misconduct or rule breaking.
“These navigators need to be fair, impartial and appropriately trained,” Burke said, according to World-Herald. “We want to make sure the population they’re working with is protected.”
Opponents however say the federal government already has job must-haves in place for navigators, and imposing extra requirements would discourage people from applying.