The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has awarded $10 million in Navigator grants to 39 organizations that will serve as Navigators in Federally-facilitated Exchange states. These awards will support the work of organizations that offer assistance to consumers navigating, shopping for, and enrolling in health insurance coverage for 2019.

cms-issues-grants-for-navigators“We are committed to making sure that consumers have a positive experience. The grants announced today mark a new direction for the Navigator program aimed at providing a more cost-effective approach that takes better advantage of volunteers and other community partners,” said CMS Administrator Seema Verma.

“This new direction will increase accountability and ensure the grants are effective in helping consumers find health coverage that meets their needs. We will continue to monitor the impact of these changes with the primary goal of ensuring consumers have the resources to select a health plan that best fits their needs.”

The $10 million, however, is only one-tenth of the budget the existed under the Obama administration, critics will be quick to point out.

According to CMS, the organizations selected for an award will:

  • Partner with public and private organizations in their community to provide more efficient, targeted outreach, such as coordinating outreach activities with local Medicaid/CHIP outreach or providing more virtual or mobile assistance to consumers.
  • Target the “left behind” population, defined in the FOA to include those individuals who are disproportionately without access to health insurance coverage or care and who may be unaware of the full range of coverage options available to them, including coverage options in addition to QHPs, such as association health plans and short-term, limited-duration insurance.
  • Utilize innovative and cost-effective strategies for reaching consumers, intended to maximize the impact on communities while ensuring efficient use of federal funds.