Before you read the highlights of this article, here are some interesting facts. Health insurance in Arizona and every other state is a highly regulated industry. To be an insurance agent or broker who sells insurance, or even to be a person who provides "customer service" to clients, you must have a license. In Arizona, you must pass an exam, and you also must submit to finger printing and a background check. Passing the exam usually requires preparation through coursework. You must renew your license on a regular basis. Virtually all insurance carriers require independent insurance agents to carry Errors and Omissions insurance. When an insurance agent and customer service employees gather private information from clients, there are rules regarding the ultimate disposal of that information. You don’t just throw the data in the nearest trash can.
Also, anyone representing an insurance plan must know that plan’s benefits, limits, and definitions. If you have ever read an insurance policy, then you know the complexities.
Health insurance exchanges will require hiring thousands of "counselors" who will act as insurance brokers to help you find the right individual policy to meet your needs. They will gather your name, address, phone number, date of birth, marital status, height and weight, social security number, financial information, and your health history.
What could possibly go wrong?
The article titled Fraud Fear Raised in California’ Health Exchange begins:
"As California prepares to launch its health care exchange, consumer groups are worried the uninsured could fall victim to fraud, identity theft, or other crimes at the hands of some of the very people who are supposed to enroll them."
A "Covered California" spokesman hastened to explain that counselors will undergo fingerprinting and background checks. The exchange has established a "code of conduct and counselors will wear name badges."
Here’s some even more comforting information:
"Covered California is expected to begin training and certifying enrollment counselors in August. They will be hired indirectly through an estimated 3,600 community organizations ranging from Native American tribes and chambers of commerce to labor unions and faith-based organizations that will be authorized to help people buy insurance."
And let’s not forget our "political correctness" when it comes to those counselor-applicants who may have a "minor drug offense" in their backgrounds:
"We don’t want applicants from communities where the exchange really needs to reach out to being sent away because they made a mistake in the past or bounced a rent check or have maybe a minor drug offense," said Cary Sanders, policy analysis director at the California Pan-Ethnic Health Network, a multicultural health organization. "It doesn’t have a bearing on their ability to provide the appropriate assistance to their communities."