JEFFERSON CITY - The future of some Missourians' health care will soon depend on the knowledge of federal insurance advisors, whose training takes less than a day.The Affordable Care Act, which takes effect October 1, 2013, requires only 20 hours of online training for a person to use the title of "navigator" to assist persons in choosing a health care plan under the federal health care exchange.
In addition, Missouri law that took effect earlier this year requires a navigator to be licensed by the state.
To remedy potential confusion about various plans available and the options, the federal government has hired organizations across the country to establish navigators.
The navigators work as health care advisors. They are trained on the exchange and the policies available through it.
The Missouri Department of Insurance requires navigators to be licensed by the state. They must also comply with the navigator policies set forth by the department.
"We intend to have every one of those licenses according to Missouri law," said Jeremy Milarsky, Navigator Project Manager for Primaris Healthcare.
Some Missourians, such as Larry Case, the Vice President of the Missouri Association of Insurance Agents, have raised concerns over these navigators.
"Some of these navigators may have been working at a convenience store yesterday and went and became certified to be a navigator, and now they're going to be advising people and counseling them on insurance in the exchange," Case said.
The qualifications of navigators is being questioned because they may be federally certified after completing just 20 hours of online training.
Case also said the possibility of identity theft from applicant's personal information is also a major concern of this program.