CMS: $80 million in funding available for Navigators in states with a federally-facilitated marketplace
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has issued the 2021 Navigator Notice of Funding Opportunity, which will make $80 million in grant funding available to Navigators in states with a federally-facilitated marketplace for the 2022 plan year. According to CMS, it’s the largest funding allocation the agency has made available for Navigator grants to date.
CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure said the funding was an eight-fold increase.
CMS is encouraging current and past Navigators to apply, particularly those that focus on education, outreach and enrollment efforts to underserved and diverse communities.
WHAT’S THE IMPACT
A Navigator’s mission is to increase awareness among the uninsured about available affordable healthcare coverage options, and assist consumers through the marketplace enrollment process.
This makes additional help available for consumers looking to enroll in the ACA. A special enrollment period runs through August 15.
The increased grant funding is available to applicants seeking to serve as Navigators. The application details the eligibility requirements, required duties and the available funding amount to applicants for this Navigator grant cycle.
2021 Navigator applicants will be asked to outline their outreach and enrollment efforts to the underserved or vulnerable population they plan to target, while still being prepared to assist any consumer seeking assistance.
State marketplaces that leverage the federal eligibility and enrollment platform are responsible for facilitating their own Navigator funding and awards to ensure consumers in their states have access to the assistance they need when enrolling in marketplace coverage through HealthCare.gov.
THE LARGER TREND
Under the Trump Administration, CMS cut Navigator funding as the administration also supported a lawsuit by Republican states before the Supreme Court to deem the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional.
That case is pending a decision by the justices before the end of the June term.
In August 2020, CMS awarded $10 million in Navigator grants to 30 returning organizations, matching the annual level of funding that was awarded over the last two years.
The organizations also got $10 million in 2019. This represented a decrease from the $36 million awarded by CMS in 2018.
Navigator representatives interviewed at the time said they received cuts of up to 75% in federal funding. They helped consumers beyond open enrollment, they said, answering requests for those who said they never received an insurance card or who asked for information on finding a doctor or about drug coverage.
ON THE RECORD
“This eight-fold increase in funding is the largest investment ever made in the Navigator program and reflects the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to ensuring Americans can find the right health care coverage, access financial assistance, complete their applications, and enroll in coverage through the Marketplaces, Medicaid, or the Children’s Health Insurance Program,” said CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure. “We know that Navigators are uniquely positioned to get the word out about the coverage and financial assistance that can help underserved Americans who need to purchase health care coverage.”