(AP) Fresno notaries have no idea who is buying their health insurance.
They’re so busy working that they don’t even know that their offices are filled with people applying for the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) health insurance exchanges.
“It’s not even a concern,” said Michael Pacheco, an attorney for Fresno’s Public Health Department.
Pacheco says Fresno’s notary department does not have a database of who’s buying the insurance.
In fact, it doesn’t even have a record of who is in the office.
“We don’t have that data on our own,” Pachecos attorney, Robert M. Dolan, said.
Fresno Public Health spokeswoman Ashley S. Leffler said the notary is required to comply with state and federal law to be able to process health insurance applications.
“The department does have a program that allows people to file applications online,” she said.
“They’re not required to submit those applications themselves.”
Fresnobes attorney, Bob Dolan of Fresno, says he is unaware that Fresno has a database to track who’s applying for coverage.
He says the department only requires that a person who is seeking health insurance be able identify themselves as a Fresno resident.
Dolan says Fresno has about 400 employees and about a dozen offices in Fresno, Fresno County, Calaveras and Monterey Counties.
He estimates that there are about 30 to 40 people in each office.
Dynamics of enrollmentOne of the reasons Fresno has such a small number of notaries is that the city does not actually have a law that requires notaries to keep track of who buys insurance, according to David Siegel, an assistant professor at the University of Colorado Denver School of Law.
Siegel says that law requires notary officers to check with their employer or with the state before filing an application.
“If a person wants to have an insurance broker, or if a person is having an insurance agent, they can have those agents verify who is applying,” he said.
Siegel said the law may not be needed if Fresno does not want to have a centralized database of people who are applying for health coverage.
“They may be exempt, because they’re not really working in Fresno,” Siegel said.
“But if they are working in other parts of the state, they would have to make sure they knew what the law was.
And if they were working in an office, they wouldn’t know who was applying for insurance,” he added.
Pachco said that Fresno’s law doesn’t address whether or not a person needs to have insurance, or what type of insurance they might need.
“What’s happening in Fresno is that people are getting insurance, but they’re paying for it through their employers and through the government,” he says.
Sauer says there are multiple laws that are meant to prevent this type of situation.
“For instance, in some states, employers are not required by law to provide insurance to their employees,” he explained.
“In other states, employees are not only required to provide health insurance, they’re also required to pay for that insurance.
So if someone has a problem paying for health care, that could cause problems with that insurance.”
He said that in addition, Fresno’s health care exchange, HealthCare.gov, has been designed to help people enroll in health coverage that doesn’t require them to pay.
“Fresnovas exchange is designed to provide people with the opportunity to sign up for coverage at the same time they’re receiving subsidies,” Sauer said.
If Fresno can’t keep track who is purchasing insurance, Pachececos lawyer says he would like to know how the city can keep track.
“My concern is the people who don’t need it, they don.
They are just not doing anything,” he told ABC News.”
I think that’s what Fresno has in its head right now.
They have no way of knowing who is getting coverage, or even if they’re getting coverage.
They just don’t know.”
Forsyth county sheriff’s office has received at least 14 requests for help from the Fresno Public Health department to track the enrollment process.
Frisco Public Health has not responded to ABC News’ requests for comment.