In July, HHS Secretary Sebelius responded to an inquiry from a group of Congressmen regarding distinctions between navigators and brokers. The Secretary’s letter clearly articulated that states cannot require navigators to be licensed insurance brokers or agents. The letter provides other helpful clarifications, as well. Unfortunately, some of the wording of the letter has spurred additional controversy and is being used by some to perpetuate efforts to prevent navigators from fully performing their duties.

A group of national organizations, including CCF, recently wrote to Secretary Sebelius pointing out these continuing issues. Our letter to the Secretary takes the opportunity to ask for further guidance or clarifications regarding navigators. We thought both letters would be of interest to those of you working on navigator and broker issues at the state level.

This ongoing tug of war over the role of navigators vs. brokers is wasting valuable energy that can be better spent on making sure that exchanges are consumer-friendly and ready to meet the health care needs of millions of uninsured people across America in 2014. It’s time that we focus on the best interests of consumers who will need assistance in connecting to coverage and not special industry interests. There’s an appropriate role for many types of assisters and more than enough work to go around. Let’s get on with it!