The Ohio House of Representatives today passed legislation that will provide authority to the State of Ohio in regulating health insurance navigators, which are individuals or entities charged with helping citizens obtain information relating to health insurance offerings through health exchanges.

Substitute House Bill 3, jointly sponsored by State Representatives Barbara Sears (R-Monclova Twp.) and Stephanie Kunze (R-Hilliard), makes changes to the Ohio Revised Code, specifically regarding the licensing and education requirements for insurance agents that wish to serve as a navigator, as well as the manner in which the state will regulate navigators under the federal health care law.

“This legislation is the first step in declaring state authority as it relates to navigators and the exchange,” said Rep. Sears. “It is important that we focus on giving navigators and insurance agents adequate information on the known requirements so they can effectively perform their duties. I applaud the House’s action to move this measure forward.”

“Substitute House Bill 3 is a consumer protection bill,” said Rep. Kunze. “By establishing training and continuing education requirements, criminal records checks, conflict of interest disclosures, and certifications, we are ensuring that Ohio’s consumers are working with knowledgeable and trustworthy professionals.”

Substitute House Bill 3 specifies that navigators are not licensed insurance agents and therefore are prohibited from engaging in selling insurance and related functions. Additionally, the bill enables both licensed and unlicensed insurance agents to be certified as navigators.

Rep. Sears and Rep. Kunze, in partnership with the Ohio Department of Insurance, will be conducting interested party meetings for stakeholders interested in participating in the administrative rule process that will begin following the enactment of Substitute House Bill 3. Starting tomorrow, March 14th, stakeholders have 30 days to submit comments, suggestions and questions to Rep. Sears’ office for consideration.

Substitute House Bill 3 passed with strong bipartisan support and will now be sent to the Ohio Senate for further consideration.

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