SALINAS, Calif.- Changes are coming to healthcare in the form of the Affordable Care Act and we're finding out what they mean for you. The Center for Investigative Action has made the commitment to break down all you need to know, from the cost to the coverage and how to get it in a consumer alert.
For now, you have to sign up for the new healthcare coverage online. If you don't have a computer, how do you know your privacy is protected if you hand over documents to someone helping you register? We're taking a look at privacy-who will have access to your personal information and how you protect yourself during the sign up process.
We found out the state of California is currently collecting a pool of about 20,000 helpers, called navigators or enrollment counselors, to help all of us with the enrollment process. But how you'll know they're trained experts is a little unclear at this point. These are people who work with non-profits, who want to become certified in helping consumers make the transition. While there are some safeguards, the California Department of Insurance said there needs to be more.
If trying to understand changes under the Affordable Care Act sounds daunting, you're not alone. Some California insurance carriers said clients are already trying to plan ahead of the 2014 deadline, with limited information on doing it safely. That's why California and the federal government said they're depending on people called navigators, to help with the process.
"Those people will have access to not only your financial information but also your health care information with is HIPPA protected," said CA Department of Insurance spokesperson Nancy Kincaid.
Information on becoming a navigator is available online through California Health Benefit Advisors. It explains navigators will be paid $58 per application and $25 for annual renewals. For a few bad apples, there's incentive for fraud and identity theft.
"That's all it takes is a couple of those folks who can really do damage to someone's financial or health care information," Kincaid said.
Community non-profits will be heading up the effort. Background checks, finger printing and certified training will be a part of the process. But the California Department of Insurance said any consumer can contact Sacramento if identity theft becomes a factor. But it's still asking California Covered for more oversight.
"Make sure you confirm, who they are, that they absolutely are a trained and certified enrollment counselor," said Kincaid.
California Covered has it's own website with detailed information at www.coveredca.com.