CMS Announces $20 Million in American Rescue Plan Funding Available to Improve Access to State-based Marketplace Coverage
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced $20 million in American Rescue Plan (ARP) funding to support State-based Marketplaces (SBMs) to improve access to affordable, comprehensive health insurance coverage for consumers in their states. States can apply for funding to help modernize or update their systems, programs, or technology to comply with federal Marketplace requirements, including the recent provisions of the American Rescue Plan (ARP) that increased the financial assistance available to certain consumers.
SBMs that operate their own eligibility platforms collectively enrolled over 3.8 million consumers in Marketplace coverage thus far for the 2021 plan year. Most consumers are now eligible for increased savings to reduce monthly premium payments and many may be eligible for lower out-of-pocket costs, such as lower deductibles, due to changes made through the ARP. This means states with Marketplaces will be enrolling more consumers and reassessing current enrollees’ eligibility for financial assistance as consumers seek to access this broader financial help.
“Our State-based Marketplaces are the gateway to quality, affordable health care for millions of consumers and these investments will make it even easier to sign up for coverage,” said CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure. “This funding available to states will help them to provide consumers with swift eligibility determinations and enrollment into comprehensive health care plans. We applaud State-based Marketplaces – many of which have provided opportunities for special enrollment periods during the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency – for their hard work.”
Under this funding opportunity, up to 21 cooperative agreement grants can be awarded to currently-approved SBMs that meet the application requirements, including those that use the HealthCare.gov for eligibility and enrollment. SBMs can prioritize funding to make modifications to systems or technology infrastructure related to the implementation of applicable federal requirements. This includes changes needed to ensure consumers can quickly receive a new eligibility determination in order to access the increased premium tax credits and cost-sharing reductions available through the ARP.
States may also use the funds for program policies or procedures required for implementation of applicable federal requirements. This includes consumer notifications, consumer education or other assistance activities, stakeholder education or training, state and federal reporting, call center or appeal supports, staff training, and oversight and monitoring activities.
Applications from eligible SBM applicants will be due on July 20, 2021. CMS anticipates issuing grant awards in early September 2021. The period of performance for this grant will be from the date of the award through September 9, 2022. The NOFO provides additional details regarding eligibility and program requirements, as well as key deadline and application submission information.
To view the Notice of Funding Opportunity, visit https://www.grants.gov, and search for CFDA # 93.525.