Officials: Georgians should verify that healthcare navigators ar - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Officials: Georgians should verify that healthcare navigators are licensed

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AUGUSTA, GA (WFXG) -

Officials are warning Georgians to be cautious when looking for help purchasing health insurance through the new healthcare.gov website.

The Affordable Care Act created "navigators" and "certified applications counselors" who are authorized to help enroll Georgians in health insurance under the new act.

But Insurance commissioner Ralph Hudgens said citizens should verify that they are working with an appropriately-licensed person before sharing any personal information.

The Georgia General Assembly passed a bill that requires navigators and certified applications counselors to obtain a license through Hudgens' office. The licensing process includes a test and a criminal background check.

"These requirements will help protect consumers from the unqualified and dishonest people who would otherwise be operating in our state," Hudgens said.

The Georgia Insurance Department has licensed more than 80 navigators and certified application counselors, Hudgens said. Consumers also can work with their local health insurance agent to obtain coverage from the exchange.

To confirm whether a navigator or certified application counselor is currently licensed, consumers can call the Insurance Department at 404-656-2070 or visit www.oci.ga.gov.

Copyright 2013 WFXG. All rights reserved.

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