Judge's Ruling Bars State From Enforcing Healthcare Navigator Rules

Oct 8, 2013

Credit outsidethebeltway.com

For now, the state of Tennessee will be blocked from enforcing rules governing so-called healthcare navigators.

A restraining order issued Monday by federal judge Todd Campbell said Tennessee’s rules restricting healthcare navigators are too broad. That supports complaints made by plaintiffs who say the state’s definitions actually hurt, rather than help, navigators in assisting consumers.

Tennessee's rules say health law counselors and navigators may not “discuss the benefits, terms and features of a particular plan over any other health plans and offer advice about which health plan is better or worse or suitable for a particular individual or employer,” according to the Nashville Tennessean.

Navigators are people who can dispense advice or answer questions from customers shopping for health insurance on the new exchanges that went live last week. Plaintiffs who lodged the complaint against the state rules said the restrictions severely limited the help they could provide.

Governor Bill Haslam and state insurance commissioner Julie McPeak argued that the restrictions were actually designed to help protect consumers and reduce the chances of fraud. The rules passed the General Assembly this year with bipartisan support.

Judge Campbell’s restraining order expires on October 21.