State and federal regulators are developing procedures that could be used to regulate the new health insurance exchange "navigators," or consumer assistance providers.
The Producer Licensing Task Force, an arm of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, is seeking public comments on a "discussion framework," or a rough outline of task force members' ideas about navigator oversight.
PPACA drafters included the exchange provisions in an effort to help consumers and small employers do a better job of shopping for health coverage.
The exchanges, or Web-based health insurance supermarkets, are supposed offer individual consumers, families and small groups menus of standardized, high-quality health plan options. Low-income and moderate-income consumers and some small groups are supposed to be able to use new federal tax credits to pay for the coverage.
The navigators cannot be called producers or licensed as producer, because, if all navigators in a state were producers, the state's exchange program could not meet the PPACA requirement that an exchange offer consumers access to at least two different types of navigators, CCIIO officials said.
Critics of PPACA are citing the current lack of state or federal navigator standards as an example of what they say are bigger problems with organize the exchange system in time to meet the deadlines set by PPACA.