At least 43 convicted criminals are working as Obamacare navigators in California, including three individuals with records of significant financial crimes.
Although some of the offenses are decades old, and although convicted criminals account for only 1 percent of the 3,729 certified enrollment counselors in the state, Californians still have good cause to be concerned about their privacy.
Even a single crooked navigator could do significant harm to the public. That’s because when navigators sign consumers up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, they have access to lots of private information, including Social Security numbers, home addresses, and financial data — basically, everything on the wish list of identity thieves and fraudsters. Navigators also are likely to work with a population that is more vulnerable than average.
Limited statistics released by Covered California — the state’s new health-insurance exchange — showed that one navigator has repeat forgery offenses — one in 1982, then another in 1994, with a burglary in between. Another had two forgery convictions in 1988, in addition to a domestic-violence charge a decade later. Another committed welfare fraud in 1999 and had shoplifted on at least two prior occasions. Since 2000, individuals now working as navigators have committed crimes including child abuse, battery, petty theft, and evading a police officer. At least seven navigators have multiple convictions.