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May 14, 2015

About 137 million individuals with private insurance are guaranteed access to free preventive services

Nationwide, about 137 million individuals, including 55 million women and 28 million children, have private health insurance that covers recommended preventive services without cost sharing, according to a new ASPE Data Point from the Department of Health and Human Services. Under the Affordable Care Act, most health plans are required to provide coverage for recommended preventive health care services without copays.

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May 5, 2015

HHS announces $101 million in Affordable Care Act funding to 164 new community health centers

Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell announced today approximately $101 million in Affordable Care Act funding to 164 new health center sites in 33 states and two U.S. Territories for the delivery of comprehensive primary health care services in communities that need them most.  These new health centers are projected to increase access to health care services for nearly 650,000 patients.

“The Affordable Care Act has led to unprecedented increases in access to health insurance.  Part of building on that progress is connecting people to the care they need,” said Secretary Burwell. “Health centers are keystones of the communities they serve. Today’s awards will enable more individuals and families to have access to the affordable, quality health care that health centers provide. That includes the preventive and primary care services that will keep them healthy.”

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April 17, 2015

FamiliesUSA: Improving ACA Enrollment of Communities of Color

In the second open enrollment period that just ended, one million more people of color signed up for marketplace coverage under the Affordable Care Act than enrolled during the first year. This achievement is thanks in large part to the more than 20,000 thousand navigators and assisters around the country who offered in-person assistance in communities of color. But we’re far from achieving equity when it comes to health coverage. Here we share recommendations to improve enrollment efforts in communities of color.

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April 16, 2015

CMS: Navigator Funding Opportunity Announcement Released

Today, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced a funding opportunity for organizations and individuals to operate as Navigators in Federally-facilitated Marketplaces (FFMs), including State Partnership Marketplaces (SPMs).  As they did have done over the past two years, and as they are doing now, Navigators will continue to assist consumers in various ways, including providing information about available coverage options through the Marketplace during open enrollment. 

Navigators have been an important resource for the millions of Americans who enrolled in coverage over the past two years. This funding announcement ensures this important work will continue over the next three years in states with a FFM, including during Marketplace open enrollment periods.

Key Changes

This year’s FOA creates a multi-year funding structure. The 2015 FOA expands the period of performance, or project period, from 12 months to 36 months. The multi-year grant award will have a funding period of one year and subsequent years will be funded incrementally based on funding availability. This change is designed to provide greater consistency for Navigator grantee organizations and their staff from year to year, reducing yearly start up time and providing for a more efficient use of grant funds.

In addition, the 2015 FOA places a greater emphasis on re-enrollment activities and consumers enrolled in coverage through the Marketplace. Applicants are encouraged to explain how they will assist persons seeking to re-enroll in coverage through Marketplaces and how they will assist consumers with applications for coverage available through the Marketplace and selection, including renewal of a QHP. The 2015 FOA also places a greater emphasis on working with underserved populations. This year applicants are encouraged to demonstrate a focus on rural, underserved, vulnerable, or special needs populations or communities, and a commitment to serve these populations or communities. 

Application and Award Information

HHS will award up to $67,000,000 to recipients across all service areas of FFMs (including SPMs).

Key Dates for Pre-Application Calls:

First call: Wednesday, April 29, 2015 from 2:00 to 3:30 p.m. Eastern Time

Second call: Wednesday, May 6, 2015 from 4:00 to 5:30 p.m. Eastern Time

Third call: Wednesday, May 20, 2015 from 11:00am-12:30 p.m. Eastern Time

Fourth call: Wednesday, June 3, 2015 from 2:00-3:30 p.m. Eastern Time

Letter of Intent to Apply (required) Due: June 3, 2015

Applications Due: June 15, 2015, by 1:00pm ET

Anticipated Award Date: September 2, 2015

At least $600,000 in total cooperative agreement funds will be available for each FFM (including SPM) service area. Small entities and individuals proposing to serve smaller, hard-to-reach or underserved populations are encouraged to apply, particularly by partnering with other entities and/or individuals to form a consortium which serves a larger total portion of the population. 

To see the FOA for the Cooperative Agreement to Support Navigators in Federally-facilitated and State Partnership Marketplaces go to and search for CFDA 93.332.


April 13, 2015

Montana House endorses Medicaid expansion bill

Missoulian – Mike Dennison

HELENA – One day after a lengthy floor battle to free a Medicaid expansion bill from committee, the Montana House on Thursday endorsed the measure, voting 54-46 to accept millions of federal dollars to extend subsidized health coverage to thousands of low-income Montanans.

“I think this is the right thing to do, it’s the right time to do it,” said Rep. Rob Cook, R-Conrad, who carried Senate Bill 405 on the floor. “Let’s pass this bill.”

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