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Who’s Best Interest Should Be The Focus When Your Picking Your New Insurance Plan

Insurance counselors not allowed in health departments

Who's Best Interest Should Be The Focus When Your Picking Your New Insurance Plan

Image courtesy of [Stuart Miles] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Counselors trained to help sign people up for insurance under the Affordable Care Act won’t be allowed to conduct outreach at county health departments across the state, according to a recent directive from the Florida Department of Health.

Local health departments can accept brochures and other outreach material about insurance under the new state exchange, but the materials will apparently only be distributed if someone asks for it. Agency officials said they sent a memo earlier this week to provide clarity for local departments around the state about the counselors, also called navigators, because the navigators aren’t acting on behalf of the state. The directive comes just weeks before the Oct. 1 launch date to start enrolling in the state exchange and political hype is ramping up on both sides of the aisle about the controversial health law.

“This program has raised privacy concerns due to the consumer information that will be gathered for use in a federal database. In light of this uncertainty and as an integrated Department of Health we sought to provide a consistent message across each county in Florida,” the agency said in a statement Wednesday.

Gov. Rick Scott and Attorney General Pam Bondi have expressed similar concerns about privacy recently, joining other Republicans around the country who have been critical of so-called “Obamacare.” Bondi is among attorneys general in 13 states who sent a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius last month questioning whether there will be enough protection of consumer data in the Navigator program, saying the agency’s current guidelines “suffer numerous deficiencies.”

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