October 12, 2013

Anne Who? Lead Navigator in Fla. Claims Credit Score Affects Obamacare Premiums (BizzyBlog Update: She May Have a Point)

A search at Google News on “Anne Packham” (in quotes, sorted by date) returns nine items.

That’s an amazingly low number, considering Ms. Packham’s aggressive attempts to gain visibility in her job as a lead Obamacare navigator in Florida, and the utterly ridiculous assertion she made earlier this week about the impact of credit scores on healthcare premiums — an assertion she has retracted without anything resembling an acceptable explanation (HT Conservative Intel; video at link; bolds are mine):

Lead health care navigator in Florida provides wrong information on credit scores
Ann Packham tells Local 6 she was incorrect about Affordable Care Act


A day after saying that anyone signing up for the Affordable Care Act had to provide their credit score, the lead Navigator admitted that she had been providing factually incorrect information to the public.

Anne Packham, one of the people assigned by the state to help people navigate the government’s website, asserted in an interview on Tuesday – and then later during follow up questions – that the credit check was put in place so providers can make an educated decision about who to insure.

“That’s so that health insurance providers can make an educated decision about who to insure based on if someone is defaulting on all of their bills they may not want to have them as part of their health plan,” she said during Tuesday’s on-camera interview.

A representative for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said Wednesday credit scores have nothing to do with insurance rates under the Affordable Care Act.

“Insurers are not allowed to factor in credit scores when setting premiums and at no point in the process are peoples’ scores accessed,” the HHS representative wrote in an e-mail response to questions from Local 6.

… Experian is a major provider of credit reports, but HHS says it is only using Experian’s services to verify identities and they say credit scores are not checked.

Packham wouldn’t say how she came up with such a detailed – and completely wrong – explanation for the question about credit checks.

Local 6 asked Packham, “People just want to know. You’ve been through training. You are educating people about the process. How does this happen?”

“It’s human error,” Packham said.

Keep in mind that Ms. Packham is — or perhaps was — not just any navigator, but a lead navigator. She has done several online Q&As with the Orlando Sentinel.

It’s amazing that no one at the TV station was sufficiently in touch with reality to recognize the obvious falsehood from the beginning.

The following question is becoming especially pertinent as the ability to enroll in Obamacare online continues to be seriously impaired: How many other ignorant and perhaps malevolent navigators are out there who will either deceive their clients or betray their trust?

Unfortunately, problems with Obamacare navigators are clearly of no interest to the rest of the national press. They clearly should be.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.


BizzyBlog Update, Nov. 4: Packham may have a point (third item at link).


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