As reported by National Public Radio, several not-for-profit organizations in Missouri that have received federal grants to hire and train “navigators” to help people enroll in a qualified health plan have filed a lawsuit against the state over its regulations requiring individuals to be licensed by the state before then can assist people with signing up.
Missouri navigator groups file suit over state restrictions
According to the complaint, the groups argue that the state requirements “directly conflict with the ACA (Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act) by making it impossible for consumer assistance organizations authorized by the ACA to perform the duties the ACA requires them to perform.”
Plaintiffs in the lawsuit, which include the Saint Louis Effort for AIDS and Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri, argue they have been put in the “untenable situation” of violating Missouri's Health Insurance Marketplace Innovation Act if they attempt to carry out the duties that the federal government gave them a grant to take on.
Missouri is one of 17 Republican-controlled states that have implemented restrictions on navigators over the past year, according to a report in Kaiser Health News. The restrictions include requiring navigators to pay fees for licensing, go through background checks, get additional training on top of the required federal requirement of 20 hours or take a state exam; some altogether bar navigators from public health offices.
Follow Steven Ross Johnson on Twitter: @MHSjohnson
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