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Texas offers loophole for extra navigator training

By RAMIT PLUSHNICK-MASTI and CHRISTOPHER SHERMAN
Associated Press

HOUSTON (AP) - When Texas imposed additional training and registration requirements last month on the "navigators" who help people enroll in the new federal health insurance marketplace, it left out another type of assister trained to do almost precisely the same thing.

Texas has not imposed these requirements on so-called certified application counselors, people hired to perform almost the same duties as navigators but paid for by local entities.

Texas' reasoning for the new requirements is to protect consumers. But this apparent loophole that will allow hundreds, in fact the majority, of those helping with enrollment continue to operate without the additional training has raised questions about the true intentions of the cumbersome rules. Similar requirements have faced successful legal challenge in two other states.

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