Texas AG urges enhanced consumer protection for Obamacare navigators

By Bryan Cohen | Nov 6, 2013

AUSTIN, Texas (Legal Newsline) - Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott sent a letter Wednesday encouraging the Texas Department of Insurance to enact new consumer protection and privacy requirements for Obamacare navigators.

The letter to Texas Insurance Commissioner Julia Rathgeber expressed Abbott's latest concerns with Obamacare navigators and their standard operating procedures manual, including the alleged lack of fraud protection training, lack of a standard operating procedure in case an individual's private information is inappropriately disclosed, lack of information about federal or state laws related to the disclosure of personal information and lack of criminal background checks for navigators.

"Obamacare navigators have access to Texans' most sensitive and personal information," Abbott said. "Inexplicably, the federal government has failed to enact safeguards that are necessary to properly protect Texans' privacy, so I am deeply concerned about the threat of identity theft. Given the Obama administration's apparent indifference to the seriousness of these problems, I am thankful that Texas officials are stepping up and moving toward meaningful protections for Texans."

Abbott is advocating for new state rules to prevent fraud and identity theft related to Obamacare.

In August, Abbott and 12 other state attorneys general expressed similar concerns about fraud and identity theft related to Obamacare in a letter to Kathleen Sebelius., the U.S. health and human services secretary. The letter recommended that federal privacy rules governing navigators be strengthened to help protect consumers. Abbott said the attorneys general did not receive a response from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. In addition, the federal privacy regulations have not changed.

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