April 14 – April 20, 2015

$67 Million in Navigator Funding Announced for the Next Year of Enrollment:  On April 15, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced the third annual federal grant opportunity for Navigators. HHS plans to award $67 million — more than last year’s $60 million — for Navigators in states with federally facilitated and partnership marketplaces. Letters of intent are due June 3, applications are due June 15, and HHS anticipates making the awards on September 2. HHS will host four pre-application conference calls for potential applicants, with the first on Wednesday, April 29, at 2:00 p.m. ET. The full funding opportunity announcement is available on Grants.gov.

Children’s Health Insurance Program Extended for Two Years: Congress passed and the president signed into law a two-year extension of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Without an extension, CHIP would have expired in September. The program will continue to provide health coverage to 8 million children, and the extension also includes $40 million in outreach and enrollment grant funding and a continuation of Express Lane Eligibility, which states can use to streamline the sign-up process.

New/Updated Fact Sheets on Data Matching Issues for HealthCare.gov Applicants: To help marketplace enrollees who may need to verify their identity to keep their coverage, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has posted an FAQ for consumers, a list of considerations for assisters, and an explanation of the identity-proofing process.

State-Based Marketplace Updates:

  • Colorado: On April 13, the Connect for Health Colorado board of directors approved a plan to allocate up to $5.1 million to fix technological issues with the state’s enrollment platform, estimating that improvements would yield around $6 million in savings and revenue from increased enrollment.
  • Minnesota: On April 15, the MNsure board of directors voted 5-2 to add providing online plan comparison tools from outside vendors to its existing list of priority IT updates. Such tools would aid consumers in comparing all available plans and making trade-offs between premiums and cost-sharing to better meet their needs. Additionally, MNsure is exploring allowing the same outside vendor(s) to process enrollments.
  • Vermont: On April 16, the state auditor released a report on the technological and operational problems with Vermont Health Connect, finding that the state still needs to address shortcomings before launching a revamped platform.
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