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MI AG Seeks Privacy Protections For Residents Requiring Obamacare

Lansing, MI - On April 21, 2014, Attorney General Bill Schuette urged the Michigan Legislature to pass legislation that will require Michigan Obamacare Navigators, who are charged with collecting a wide range of sensitive personal data, to abide by common consumer protection standards.

Proposed protections include: certification, regulation, training, criminal background checks, and conflict of interest disclosure requirements.

“As public servants, it’s our responsibility to protect Michigan citizens and to help them safeguard their personal information,” said Schuette. “Consumer Protection is in the DNA of the Department of Attorney General and passing HB 4576 is a step towards fulfilling our duty to the public."

The passage of HB 4576, along with Schuette’s and ten other states’ attorneys general call for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to implement stricter requirements for Obamacare Navigators, would further encourage the federal government to respond to demands for increased consumer protection measures for Obamacare recipients.

Last December, Schuette, along with attorneys general from West Virginia, Alabama, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas and Virginia, sent a letter addressed to then-Secretary Kathleen Sebelius of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, to voice concerns over the lack of consumer privacy protections required of Obamacare Navigators who are entrusted with sensitive personal information such as names of the insured, birth dates, social security numbers, tax information and protected health records.

In the letter, Schuette and his colleagues recommend the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services shield consumers from potential illegal activity by mandating rigorous background checks on all Obamacare Navigators who obtain private consumer information, including fingerprinting. Furthermore, the letter calls for disqualifying individuals with certain criminal histories from serving as a Navigator.

Schuette notes that Navigators and others obtaining personal information should be subject to the same safeguards on consumers’ private information as other federal employees who access sensitive employee information. Census Bureau workers, for example, are required to take an oath for life to protect the personal information they gather, with violators facing penalities of imprisonment or serious fines.
Background on HB 4576

HB 4576, introduced by Representative Hugh Crawford (R-Novi), would amend the Michigan Insurance Code to require that Navigators, authorized under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, complete a comprehensive training program, submit to a criminal background check including fingerprinting, and be certified as a navigator prior to performing any duties. This would allow the State of Michigan to regulate taxpayer-funded Navigators and ensure that consumer privacy is protected.

The legislation was passed by the Michigan House of Representatives on December 12, 2013 and voted out of Senate committee on Health Policy on March 18, 2014 and now faces a vote of the Senate as a whole. This legislation could be taken up as early as Tuesday, April 22, 2014 when the Senate returns to session.

For a more detailed description of the bill, please visit:
AG Schuette’s Efforts Protect Consumer’s Privacy

All year long, Schuette’s Senior Brigade program offers free presentations to educate consumers on how to protect their personal information. Since 2011, Schuette’s office has presented 1,225 educational seminars to nearly 30,000 Michigan consumers. Seminar topics include: Identity Theft, Online Safety, and Phone and Mail Scams. To schedule a free presentation in your community, contact Schuette’s office toll-free at 877-765-8388. More information and additional resources are available at

Earlier this year Schuette issued a consumer alert outlining helpful resources for consumers affected by the recent Target, Neiman Marcus, and Michaels data breaches. The warning came on the heels of one of the largest data breaches in national history which threatened the personal and financial information upwards of 110 million customers. Just last week, Michaels confirmed nearly three million customers are affected by their breach, including those who shopped at 35 Michigan stores. Schuette’s consumer alert can be viewed here: