New York’s healthcare exchange has removed its list of Obamacare “navigators” after discovering that companies that have no relation to the health care field — such as a cupcake store — were included.
“We are updating the [In-Person Assistors]/Navigators contact list. New information will be posted shortly,” the site now explains in place of the original 228-page list of IPAs and navigators.
Navigators provide in-person assistance for people looking to enroll in Obamacare. The program has come under fire in recent weeks over security concerns.
Local news site DNAinfo New York first reported the issues with the list of navigators Tuesday, revealing that not only were the businesses on the list surprising, but that the businesses and employees had no clue about the program in the first place.
“I’m not even sure I know what that is,” Amy at Brooklyn Cupcake, Inc. listed on the page told DNAinfo.
“I have no idea why I am in the list,” Patrick Wu, manager of the Bowery Pharmacy in Lower Manhattan, told The New York Times on Tuesday, adding that he had received about 50 calls from people looking for insurance since the beginning of open enrollment on Oct. 1
Sa Sa Cosmetic and Skincare Spa also listed told the Times that the spa was “for skin,” not insurance.
“I’m sorry, honey, you have the wrong number. This is a car service. We don’t do health here,” a dispatcher at APEX Car & Limo, Inc, which was listed as a navigator, told DNAinfo.
New York State Assemblyman Kieran Lalor told The Daily Caller that he is pressing the New York Health Department for answers and is currently in the process of drafting a formal letter to find out how such mistakes were made — and if they were mistakes at all.
“I think this is just, at a minimum the latest gaffe with this whole roll out. The states were the ones that were supposed to be the ones doing well versus the federal government,” he said. “And now we see a massive problem in one of the largest states.”
“If there was a good answer I think we would have it by now,” he said, adding that while he does not want to speculate, “something is not right.”
The New York Health Department did not immediately respond to TheDC’s request for comment, but spokesman Bill Schwarz told the Times on Tuesday that the list was being updated.
Schwarz added that some local businesses had been tapped to offer information, and that while some businesses had not been notified they were serving as navigators, Schwartz said that some owners might have failed to tell their employees.
“As such, some employees of these locations may not be fully aware of the enrollment assistance efforts,” he told the Times.