Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner John D. Doak has ordered Oklahoma’s registered navigators to provide summary reports on enrollment data. The request comes after Doak’s testimony to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) revealed growing concerns about navigators. After Doak questioned the effectiveness of navigator enrollment and marketing tactics, U. S. Sen. Lamar Alexander said 17 navigators enrolled less than 100 people each in 2016, putting the average grant cost per enrollee at approximately $5,000 for those navigators.
“This kind of waste and abuse confirms a fear I’ve had from the very beginning of the Obamacare debacle,” said Doak. “I urge Congress to begin auditing and overseeing the efficiency of Obamacare navigators. Taxpayer dollars are too precious to waste.”
Since 2013, Oklahoma’s navigator entities have received more than $5.2 million in grants to help consumers look for health coverage options through the federal marketplace. Navigators are authorized to complete eligibility and enrollment forms but are required to be unbiased.
During Wednesday’s hearing, HELP Committee Chairman Alexander revealed that inefficiencies in the navigator program were prevalent. He confirmed one instance where a navigator entity received a $200,000 grant and only enrolled one person in Obamacare.
Commissioner Doak has sent letters to all registered navigators in Oklahoma requesting specific information to determine total consumer encounters and enrollment numbers. The goal of the data collection is to report on the program’s effectiveness and to assist our federal delegates in determining whether government monies would be better spent elsewhere going forward.
Besides shining a spotlight on the federal government’s difficulties around the navigator program, Doak encouraged Congress to return power to the states.
“This is another shining example of the importance of state-based regulation,” said Doak. “Oklahomans know what’s best for Oklahomans. I urge Congress to give us the flexibility we need to implement real solutions to our health insurance problems.”