[CMS Press Release]
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 2, 2015
Contact: CMS Media Relations
(202) 690-6145 | CMS Media Inquiries
CMS awards $67 million in Affordable Care Act funding to help consumers sign-up for affordable Health Insurance Marketplace coverage in 2016
With Marketplace Open Enrollment set to begin on November 1, 2015, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) today announced grant awards totaling $67 million to support outreach efforts designed to connect people with local help as they seek to understand the coverage options and financial assistance available at HealthCare.gov. Awarded to 100 organizations located in 34 states that operate Federally Facilitated Marketplaces, State Partnership Marketplaces, and supported State-Based Marketplaces., the three year-long Marketplace Navigator grants will fuel efforts to help consumers enroll in a health plan that fits their budget and best meets their family’s needs.
“There are a lot of choices when it comes to signing up for health insurance and we want to help make sure consumers feel confident that they’ve picked the right plan,” said Kevin Counihan, CEO of the Health Insurance Marketplaces. “In person assistance from Navigators and assisters has proven to be an incredibly important avenue for consumers to get the right coverage. I’m pleased that Navigators and assisters will be available in even more geographic areas this year.”
Navigators and assisters are trained specialists who provide consumers in their communities with in-person help, answering their questions about their health insurance and financial assistance options and assisting them as they complete their application. Navigators and assisters are knowledgeable about the range of health plans available on HealthCare.gov as well as other public health insurance programs offered in their state, including Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). The navigator awards announced today will allow organizations to work with consumers for the next three years.
This year’s Navigator grantees will expand access to local help in many states. In Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Montana, New Jersey, West Virginia, and Wisconsin, more counties will be covered by Navigator entities during the Marketplace’s third open enrollment period than during the second open enrollment. In West Virginia alone, an additional 42 counties will be covered, providing improved access across the state. These gains will enable more consumers to get the help they need with enrollment.
Of the Navigator grantees awarded for this three-year cycle, 67 are returning grantees, providing stability and continuity for many consumers who have come to rely on the assistance offered by these Navigator grantees both for enrollment and post-enrollment concerns. While grants could continue for three years, each year, CMS will assess Navigator grantees’ performance for ongoing support.
In addition to Navigators, Marketplaces make other resources available to consumers to help them access Marketplace coverage, such as certified application counselors, non-navigator assistance personnel (also known as in-person assisters), and agents and brokers. Consumers in federally-facilitated and state partnership Marketplaces can visit Find Local Help to find assistance in their area.
For a list of HHS Navigator awardees or more information about Navigators and other Marketplace resources, please visit: https://www.cms.gov/CCIIO/Programs-and-Initiatives/Health-Insurance-Marketplaces/assistance.html