Kansas weighs regulating health care ‘navigators’

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) – The Kansas Senate has given first-round approval to new regulations for counselors who help consumers navigate the federal online health insurance marketplace.

The Senate’s voice vote Tuesday advanced the legislation to another vote Wednesday, when it is expected to win final approval and go to the House.

The bill would require so-called navigators to register with the attorney general’s office, pay a $100 annual fee, be fingerprinted and undergo background checks.

Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee Chairwoman Mary Pilcher-Cook said the measure would protect consumers. The Shawnee Republican is a vocal critic of the 2010 federal health care overhaul that created the online marketplace.

Democrats said the bill is unnecessary and only a political statement.

Kansas has about 170 navigators.

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