CMS announces $2.3M in additional #ACA Navigator funding for #COVID Enrollment Period

After the Trump Administration slashed the ACA's Navigator/Certified Application Counselor program budget by 90%, this is certainly welcome news! Via the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS):

CMS Announces Additional Navigator Funding to Support Marketplace Special Enrollment Period

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is making approximately $2.3 million in additional funding available to current Navigator grantees in Federally-facilitated Marketplace (FFM) states to support the outreach, education and enrollment efforts around the 2021 Special Enrollment Period (SEP) that runs through May 15, 2021. The 30 organizations eligible to receive these funds work across 28 FFM states to help consumers access financial assistance through HealthCare.gov, complete their applications, and enroll in coverage through the Marketplace, Medicaid, or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

“President Biden has made clear that every American deserves access to quality, affordable health care. Navigators help Americans understand their health insurance options, connecting consumers with financial help, and help them enroll in Marketplace plans, Medicaid, or CHIP,” said Jeff Wu, CMS Acting Deputy Administrator. “During a public health emergency, it is critical for consumers to have access to assistance with finding affordable, comprehensive health coverage that best fits their needs.”

Navigators play a key role in reaching underserved communities that historically have experienced lower access to health coverage and greater disparities in health outcomes. Their mission focuses on assisting the uninsured and other vulnerable communities. The additional resources announced today will provide vital support and resources to these communities.

Navigator organizations can determine how best to utilize the additional funding made available by CMS based on their previously approved plans and current needs. CMS will review all updated plans and budget documentation that outline how Navigators plan to use the additional funding to enhance their previously approved program operations for the remainder of the 2020-2021 budget period.

CMS will invest in the future of the Navigator program this year, and plans to increase funding significantly for the upcoming 2021 Navigator Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) grants to facilitate a robust applicant pool and increase access to assistance for consumers in the future. CMS plans to publish the NOFO this spring to allow sufficient time to award a new round of Navigator grants in advance of Open Enrollment for the 2022 plan year. The current 2020 Navigator grant awards run through August 29, 2021.

List of current CMS Navigator grantees

Upper Limits for 2020 Navigator Supplemental Funding Allocations