South Dakota bill would regulate health insurance helpers

2014-02-09T17:00:00Z South Dakota bill would regulate health insurance helpersThe Associated Press The Associated Press
February 09, 2014 5:00 pm  • 

PIERRE | The so-called navigators who help uninsured people sign up for insurance under President Barack Obama's health care overhaul would be regulated under a bill in the South Dakota Legislature.

The sponsor, Sen. Al Novstrup, acknowledges that he opposes the Affordable Care Act, often called Obamacare. But the Aberdeen Republican said supporters of the health care law might also support his proposal because it provides additional protection for people seeking insurance.

"The main thing we're asking them to do is register. Let us know who they are. Let us have the ability to do a background check if we choose to," Novstrup said. "If I'm handing over my date of birth and my Social Security number, I might want to know if that person is a felon or not.

But critics of Novstrup's bill and similar efforts in other states have said such regulations are designed to add red tape that will hinder efforts to enroll people for insurance policies available through online marketplaces called exchanges.

"This is clearly an attempt to block fair implementation of the ACA," Jonathan Gruber, an economist at MIT who helped design the health overhaul law, said in an email message. "There is no reason other than denying insurance coverage to state residents to impose these requirements."

Novstrup's bill would require the state Insurance Division to register navigators, make sure they have completed training and check whether they have been convicted of crimes. Registration would cost $50.

The Senate Commerce and Energy Committee has not set a hearing date for the bill.

Kim Jones, coordinator of the South Dakota Navigator Coalition, said navigators educate people about options and obligations in the new health insurance market and help people sign up for insurance policies. She works with 19 navigators in her organization.

The navigator program is overseen by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and the federal government has provided grants to nonprofit organizations in South Dakota and other states to sign up navigators to help uninsured people.

Jones said she thinks current navigators have adequate training, though she would comply with any new regulations.

"It would make the process a bit more complicated," Jones said. "It's not for me to say whether it's necessary or not."

Novstrup said he hopes the program would pay for itself with the registration fees.

"We're doing a very minimal amount of regulation, and that minimal amount of regulation should cost a very small amount," Novstrup said.

House Minority Leader Bernie Hunhoff signed on as a co-sponsor to the bill but has since decided that he won't vote for it.

The Democrat from Yankton said he recently worked with a navigator to set up insurance for his business.

"I think it's unnecessary regulation, the more I learn about it," Hunhoff said. "We're all trying to keep government simple and reduce duplication and unnecessary paperwork and regulations. This seems to be just an unnecessary burden on the whole system. "

Novstrup said he decided to propose the measure after reading that U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius had said the federal government does not require background checks for health care navigators, but the states could do so.

"Secretary Sebelius handed us the particular responsibility to make sure that that particular profession was registered or regulated and licensed," Novstrup said.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(19) Comments

  1. ZAR
    Report Abuse
    ZAR - February 16, 2014 12:13 am
    June 13, 2013

    PIERRE, S.D. (AP) – South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley has appointed a panel to review the state’s consumer protection laws.
    Jackley says the work group includes state lawmakers, officials from state and local government agencies, law enforcement officers, business owners and representatives of some business associations.
    The attorney general says the group will look specifically at strengthening laws on deceptive trade practices. He says South Dakota’s consumer protection laws were passed in 1971 and some revisions have been made over the years.
    Jackley says the Consumer Protection Division in his office last year helped more than 20,000 consumers recover more than $11 million.
    The work group planned to hold its first meeting Thursday in Pierre.
    That's the last time I do simple research for you Frank........
  2. Report Abuse
    - February 11, 2014 9:16 am

    Having had my curiosity aroused, I decided to research security concerns on my own. Here's how to find relevant information:

    Google " security".

    You will get a list of hits, many from Fox News, but others from third-party independent sources. I would recommend the read "Explaining security issues with - TrustedSec" and the other articles from Cnet. These are industry sources, not political ones.

    Turns out it's not just that has problems, but there are problems systemic through many different Federal and State systems, being just a part, but in fact there are security issues with the site.

    Imagine that. The govt, which audits banks IT security, have issues in their own back yard. This is neither red or blue, but seems true.

    So, I end up answering my own challenge, there clearly are issues, and I would tend to recommend that people applying use the old paper and pencil method for the time being.

    To Frank and the larger discussion, this legislation is a copy of the same thing done in Texas. Note that similar job positions that deal with welfare, social services, etc deal with the same types of information and do not have as stringent of requirements. This is clearly obstructionist in nature, if you do it for one program it should be logically the same for other programs as well, and here as in Texas, "that ain't happening".

    This was fun....
  3. Report Abuse
    - February 11, 2014 8:43 am
    Where you getting this "hacker" info Frank? Sources please.

    There were database issues at first that mailed out inappropriate information, (true).

    The rest of this stuff seems more to me in the "wild rumor" category than any other. I've yet to hear a peep from any of you making this wild claim.
  4. Report Abuse
    - February 10, 2014 1:57 pm
    Prove it Rude. Let's see a recent source. I'm not buying the "vortex for ID thieves" without any non-slanted backup.

    Note, Not defending Obamacare, but am Raising the BS flag on some claims that I don't think would survive a recent fact-check.
  5. ZAR
    Report Abuse
    ZAR - February 10, 2014 12:28 pm
    What liberal news agencys Frank, Oh yeah I forgot you folks an the fringe right believe that any News that is reported anywhere else but Fox is liberal media.... And there ratings have been falling....
  6. Report Abuse
    - February 10, 2014 12:12 pm

    Improper claim. There were database issues at first which you are absolutely correct to point out, but to claim "whole system is open to hackers" is bunk in my opinion. Prove it. Please be factual in your postings and at least attempt to point to a recent source. I've got a tech background, and broad unsubstantiated claims of this type frankly offend me.

    This is neither a red or blue statement, but I like to see facts statement.
  7. Frank Smith
    Report Abuse
    Frank Smith - February 10, 2014 11:10 am
  8. Frank Smith
    Report Abuse
    Frank Smith - February 10, 2014 11:10 am
    With so many liberal news agencies, the fact that you think everything is driven by Fox news is quite hilarious. Yes, they do win all of the ratings...but still.
  9. Frank Smith
    Report Abuse
    Frank Smith - February 10, 2014 11:09 am
    That skunk you smell is ObamaCare. What "protection laws" are in place to protect your SS number when you give it to a convicted felon over the phone? Please tell me. Be specific.
  10. Frank Smith
    Report Abuse
    Frank Smith - February 10, 2014 11:07 am
    Agreed. ObamaCare is junk.
  11. Frank Smith
    Report Abuse
    Frank Smith - February 10, 2014 11:07 am
    Why would democrats and liberals care if the "navigators" were convicted felons or not? They don't seem to care that the ObamaCare website itself is wrought with security holes and easily hackable by even the most incompetent hackers among us. Any attempt to put even the most minor oversight on ObamaCare will always be met with feigned conniption fits of resistance by the left...which is ironic because no one loves government oversight more than liberals. Go figure.
  12. Farwalker
    Report Abuse
    Farwalker - February 10, 2014 9:51 am
    Wanting to protect the information from the thieves that Obamacare is hiring is an obstruction?
    The whole system is open to hackers and anyone of substance would be a fool to sign up for it.
    You are dammed if you do and criticised if you don't
  13. Rhudedog
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    Rhudedog - February 10, 2014 8:12 am
    Why do you so blindly support Obama no matter what he does Pete?
  14. Scott Peterson
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    Scott Peterson - February 10, 2014 7:09 am
    Mean-spirited ignorance Al. You cannot require federal employees to register. It is unconstitutional.
  15. Shorty
    Report Abuse
    Shorty - February 10, 2014 5:47 am
    Just a round about way of obstruction, as if refusing to help the 48,000 needy people isn't enough. Can't understand why republicans are so against people having health insurance, the law makes sure republican corporate insurance masters get their profits, what is the problem? They say government intrusion is the problem yet they support the NSA, the ultimate intrusion, they talk about spending, but they supported the corporate hand out that was the farm bill and the billions they force the military to spend on stuff the military doesn't even want just because it effects individual districts. Can't have it both ways.
  16. GL
    Report Abuse
    GL - February 10, 2014 5:34 am
    Meant to obstruct the ACA, pure and simple. Your tax dollars pay for this junk...
  17. Roger Cornelius
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    Roger Cornelius - February 10, 2014 12:13 am
    This is nothing more than FOX "News" propaganda.

    All the state needs to do is follow the federal regulations.
  18. Rhudedog
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    Rhudedog - February 09, 2014 6:44 pm
    Great start but the problems are deeper than the navigators - the entire scam from top to bottom is a data vortex for identity thieves
  19. ZAR
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    ZAR - February 09, 2014 6:05 pm
    "But the Aberdeen Republican said supporters of the health care law might also support his proposal because it provides additional protection for people seeking insurance."

    Gimme a break Sen. Norstrup, are you trying to tell the citizens in SD that businesses that collect personal information, such as SS numbers aren't already under some type of consumer protection laws???????
    I smell a skunk!!!!!!!
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