The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services today announced its intent to award up to $54 million in grants to organizations interested in helping consumers navigate state health insurance exchanges.
The exchanges, also known as marketplaces, are a key component of the Affordable Care Act, which requires almost all Americans to have health insurance by Jan. 1 or pay a penalty.
“We’re glad it’s out,” said Anna Lambertson, executive director with the Kansas Health Consumer Coalition. “We’ll be looking at the grant application to see what it is that CMS is looking for and then we’ll be reaching out to the organizations that appear to be best suited for making this happen in Kansas.”
According to a CMS press release, the grants will be limited to the 33 states — including Kansas — that have decided to let the federal government administer their exchanges.
CMS has yet to announce its plan for helping consumers navigate the state-run exchanges.
Also cited in the release:
- CMS plans to award at least two grants per state.
- Applicants may be “self-employed individuals and private and public entities.”
- At least one grant per state will be reserved for a well-established charity.
- Applicants may be consortiums of non-profit providers, advocacy groups, and state associations.
- Grant amounts will vary from state to state, depending on the number of uninsured residents.
- Initially, the grants will be for one year.
- Applicants must be conflict-free and will not be allowed to “to receive any direct or indirect consideration” from a health insurer.
- CMS will train the navigators.
Federal officials expect the exchanges to be up and running by Oct. 1.
Source: State Reforum.
Navigator grant applications are due June 7; grants will be awarded on or before August 15.
More information on grant applications is available at grants.gov, under Grant No. CA-NAV-13-001 or CFDA No. 93.750.
CMS officials invited prospective applicants to take part in a Tuesday afternoon conference call. For the next 30 days, a recording of the question-answer session may be heard by calling 1-800-842-6143.
Last month, the Kansas Insurance Department announced that it had “no money” for mounting a statewide informational campaign on how exchanges will work.
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