New Rules For Healthcare “Navigators” In Ohio Approved

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An Ohio legislative panel has cleared new rules for professionals who will help guide consumers through the online insurance marketplaces created by the federal health care law.

State law specifies that so-called navigators can't sell, solicit or negotiate health insurance. They are banned from recommending a particular health plan or giving advice about benefits in the marketplaces.

Consumers can buy individual private policies and apply for government subsidies to help pay their premiums through the online exchanges. Open enrollment starts Oct. 1.

Consumer advocates say the rules could complicate efforts from community-based groups or others who also could provide enrollment assistance.

An official with the state's insurance department told the panel that as long as certain entities weren't holding themselves out to be navigators, they could continue to provide services.