The Texas Department of Insurance is hearing it’s final set of feedback regarding state-mandated requirements for federal navigators working for Texas nonprofits. Those requirements include registration and training fees that are near $1,000 per person.
The additional rulemaking by the TDI is a result of a letter submitted by Gov. Rick Perry about his concerns on the lack of federal requirements for navigators, and a state law authored by state Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin, who spoke against the new rules.
"The Texas Department of Insurance has yet to provide justification of why it has proposed these rules," Watson said.
Watson said he submitted a letter to TDI Commissioner Julia Rathgeber asking for her reasoning for the rules, which he said she never answered. Watson said these are the strictest rules the nation.
"Creating barriers for people to help people sign up actually creates a political agenda"
Navigators will be required to complete 40 additional hours of training and will also have to prove financial responsibility, undergo fingerprinting and background checks. The requirements will cost individuals close to $1,000.
State Rep. Paul Workman, R-Austin, said the additional rules are necessary.
"We’re asking non-insurance people to tell people how to sign up for insurance products [so] they have to understand what that insurance product is and it is complicated," Workman said.
The rules will be posted on the TDI website sometime in mid-February. Navigators must then complete the training by March 1, 30 days before the end of the Affordable Care Act's enrollment period.