VIDEO: Navigators Go Door-to-Door Less Than Two Weeks After Obamacare Czar Assured Committee They Would Not

October 2, 2013

It has already been documented that the first day of the health care law’s open enrollment was riddled with ‘glitches,’ disappointments, confusion, and even more delays. But the problems don’t stop there. Fox News reported Tuesday that two Navigator groups in Florida went “door-to-door knocking on the homes of the uninsured, offering their help, helping them navigate through the different plans that are available.” Such door-to-door outreach has previously been described as inappropriate, which is probably why a top administration official denied that such activity would occur.

Less than two weeks ago, on September 19, Director of the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight (CCIIO) Gary Cohen testified that, “We will be issuing instructions to Navigators that they should not be going door to door.” As outlined in a report issued by the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Cohen and Director of the Consumer Support Group at CCIIO Vicki Gottlich had previously both acknowledged that Navigators going door-to-door would constitute inappropriate activity. The report highlights a September 10 Washington Post report finding, “In New York and Florida, meanwhile, scammers have been traveling door-to-door, asking whether individuals currently have health insurance. If not, some individuals have reportedly been threatened with prison time if they do not sign up for coverage on the spot, according to the [Coalition Against Insurance Fraud].”

Committee leaders wrote to Director Cohen after the hearing to get clarity about his statement that door-to-door outreach would not be permitted, noting that, “The recipient of one of the largest Navigator grants explained in their application that they expected a substantial portion of their program to involved door-to-door contacts.” Formal guidance was issued just ten days before enrollment began, and reads, “Please note that outreach activities should not include door-to-door activities to help consumers fill out applications or enroll in health coverage.” Yet as yesterday’s report makes clear, such activity began on day one.

Rushed implementation of the Navigator program had already limited the training time for Navigators, and now we’re seeing that concerns were warranted. This incident further underscores the need for thoughtful oversight of the Navigators program, despite the hollow outbursts of outrage from the law’s supporters.

Cohen Testifies: “We will be issuing instructions to Navigators that they should not be going door to door.”

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Fox News: Florida Navigators go door-to-door on October 1

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