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State questions navigators who help with insurance marketplace

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Updated: 9/20/2013 10:33 pm
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- When the Health Insurance Marketplace opens on October 1, millions of people will sign up, giving thieves and scam artists millions of opportunities to try and steal their personal information.

This week, federal health care leaders met in Jacksonville to discuss privacy concerns after Governor Rick Scott sent a letter to Congress, claiming not enough is being done to protect consumers.

"The system itself has lots of built in securities," said Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of the US Department of Health and Human Services, who tried to reassure local leaders that a secure system is in place.

The biggest concern involves navigators, which are the people in call centers around the country that will guide consumers through the enrollment process.

"This is one of the biggest times that government has gotten into our lives," says Dr. Daniel Kantor, Vice President of the Duval County Medical Society, "and the government must now weigh your privacy, with the information they need to put out there."

Sebelius says navigators will not have access to cell phones, internet or writing instruments at their desks. Instead, they will use white boards and erase the information after each call.

Action News dug deeper to find out who the navigators are. We found that most are employed by non-profits and have done similar work in the past for Medicare and Medicaid. They must complete 20 hours of training before passing an exam that will certify them for one year. In addition, some, but not all, will undergo background checks according to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

While Sebelius claims marketplace security is more sophisticated than a typical insurance company, Kantor says consumers should always be on guard.

"You should not be giving your personal information or financial information to somebody who comes to the door to sign you up."

The White House also announced new security plans this week, including the use of a new computer system. They have set up a rapid response team if there is a complaint, and have ongoing educational efforts to warn consumers about scam artists who are already trying to take advantage of the system.

The Health Insurance Marketplace opens on October 1. Coverage is effective as soon as January 1.

You can only sign up for the Health Insurance Marketplace on the government's website: www.healthcare.gov or by calling 800-318-2596.
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