HHS Announces Largest Ever Funding Allocation for #ACA Navigators

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This was actually announced last week, but I was mainly focused on the 2021 OEP enrollment report at the time:

Today, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that to continue its efforts to increase access to enrollment assistance for consumers, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will make $80 million available in grants to Navigators in Federal Marketplaces for the 2022 plan year. The funding, which will be used for outreach and education efforts, is the largest allocation CMS has made available for Navigator grants to date and represents an eight fold increase in funding from the previous year. CMS invested $10 million annually in the Navigator program beginning with funding awarded in 2018 for the 2019 plan year. CMS awarded $36.2 million in 2017 for the 2018 plan year, down from a high of $63 million awarded in 2016 for the 2017 plan year.

This, of course, is a reference to the Trump Administration's sabotage of the ACA navigator/assister program, which they decided to gut literally moments before most of the grant notices were set to be sent out back in early September 2017.

...“Navigators play a key role in helping us educate consumers about health plan options. Today’s announcement builds upon the steps the Administration has taken to ensure individuals and families can access quality, affordable health coverage during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Secretary Becerra. “This eight-fold increase in Navigator funding will help consumers deciding whether to enroll or continue their health care coverage through HealthCare.gov during the Open Enrollment period this fall.”

Navigators are a network of trained individuals that help consumers review their health coverage options as well as complete eligibility and enrollment forms. They serve an important role in connecting communities that historically have experienced lower access to health coverage and greater disparities in health outcomes to health coverage. Their mission focuses on assisting the uninsured and other vulnerable communities. The funds will provide vital support and resources to these communities once awarded.

...Details about the Navigator grant funding, including eligibility requirements and required Navigator duties, are available through the 2021 Navigator Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) Forecast. The 2021 Navigator NOFO will be released later this spring as indicated in the NOFO Forecast. All information contained in the forecast is subject to change, including the availability of funding. No applications are being accepted at this time.