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October 13, 2016

Attention Indian Country: Open enrollment for the Medicare program starts October 15th and closes December 7th!

Medicare health and drug plans can make changes each year; costs, coverage, and what providers and pharmacies are in network. October 15th to December 7th is the time when you can change your Medicare health plans and prescription drug coverage for the following year!

You may qualify for Medicare if:

  • You are 65 or Older
  • Under 65 but disabled as determined by the Social Security Administration
  • Any age with End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD); permanent kidney failure requiring dialysis or a kidney transplant.

For more information about the Medicare programs and coverage, visit your local Indian Health Care Provider. Or, visit the Social Security office at, call at 1-800-7772-1213.

Furthermore, in partnership with the Indian Health Service, the National Indian Health Board is releasing new content; The Enrollment Assistor Toolkit. This toolkit will help Enrollment Assistors with their work across Indian Country of educating and enrolling Tribal members into health coverage through the Marketplace, Medicaid, Medicare, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program.

September 30, 2016

ATTENTION: IHS and NIHB Announces Release of New Affordable Care Act Toolkit for Native Youth

Click Here

September 8, 2016

BREAKING: CMS will give providers flexibility on MACRA requirements

The CMS on Thursday announced it will allow providers to choose the level and pace at which they comply with the new payment reform model aimed at emphasizing quality patient care over volume. The announcement comes after intense pressure from industry stakeholders and policymakers to ease implementation of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act, which is set to start Jan. 1, 2017. Two months ago, CMS Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt said the agency was considering delaying the start date. Next year, eligible physicians and other clinicians will be given four options to comply with new payment schemes such as the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) or an alternative payment model such as accountable care organizations. Under MIPS, physician payments will be based on a compilation of quality measures and the use of electronic health records. About 90% of physicians are expected to pursue MIPS because a qualifying APM requires a hefty amount of risk. In the first option offered Thursday, any data reported will allow providers to avoid a negative payment adjustment. The goal is to ease providers into broader participation in the following two years. The second option allows providers to submit data for a reduced number of days. This means their first performance period could begin later than Jan. 1 and that practice could still qualify for a small payment if it submits data on how the practice is using technology and how it’s improving. The third option is for practices that are ready to go in 2017.  “We’ve seen physician practices of all sizes successfully submit a full year’s quality data, and expect many will be ready to do so,” Slavitt said. The final option is to participate in an advanced alternative payment model such as a Medicare Shared Savings ACO. In a call with Modern Healthcare, Slavitt inferred the flexibility came after Congress asked for enough time to prepare providers. This week, representatives from the House Ways and Means Committee and the House Energy and Commerce Committee wrote to HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell calling for more flexibility with MACRA implementation. For months now, medical groups, including the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Family Physicians and the Medical Group Management Association, have campaigned toward the same end. “We’re making the consequences of not being ready more modest as these models start up,” Slavitt said in a call with Modern Healthcare. Senators showed great concern for small and rural practices, which have said MACRA could force them to join hospitals or larger practices because of the paperwork and payment changes required. Slavitt said the CMS is concerned about the potential conflicts and will address them in the final rule expected to drop in November.  “Some of the things that are on the table, (that) we’re considering include alternative start dates, looking at whether shorter periods could be used, and finding other ways for physicians to get experience with the program before the impact of it really hits them,” he said during a Congressional hearing in July. Slavitt said he hopes the flexibility his agency is offering providers will allow them to focus on patient care. “The bulls-eye for us isn’t what will happen with this program in 2017, it’s about what will lead to the best patient care in the long term,” he said.



September 7, 2016

Enrollment Assistor Entities–2016 Medicare Open Enrollment Bootcamp is Here

2016 Medicare Open Enrollment Bootcamp is Here

September 8, 2016             1:00 – 3:00 pm ET

This webinar will provide updates on the following:

  • 1-800-MEDICARE Call Center
  • Medicare Plan Finder
  • Fraud Awareness
  • Open Enrollment Media Campaign
  • Tips For Hosting a Successful Enrollment Event.

All CMS partners and stakeholders who help people with Medicare make informed health care choices are welcome to attend. To register for this event, visit:

September 7, 2016

CMS awards consumer assistance funding to support 2017 Health Insurance Marketplace enrollment –$63 Million

CMS News


Contact: CMS Media Relations (202) 690-6145 | CMS Media Inquiries

CMS awards consumer assistance funding to support 2017 Health Insurance Marketplace enrollment

With open enrollment for 2017 only a few weeks away, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), announced $63 million in Navigator grant awards to returning and new organizations.  These awards will support local in-person assistance to help consumers navigate, shop, and enroll in the wide variety of Marketplace coverage options.

“We are committed to making sure consumers have all the resources they need to find the right plan when open enrollment begins on November 1,” said Kevin Counihan, CEO of the Health Insurance Marketplace.  “We know in-person assistance is critical to connecting individuals and families with quality, affordable health coverage that best meets their needs.”

Navigators are trained individuals and organizations who help consumers, small businesses, and employees as they look for health coverage options and financial assistance through the Marketplace.  Navigators can meet in person with consumers and help them understand the coverage options available to them as well as help them pick, apply for, and enroll in a plan of their choice. Consumers in Federally-facilitated Marketplaces, including State Partnership Marketplaces, can visit Find Local Help to find assistance in their area.

This year, 96 returning organizations and 2 new organizations in the state of Hawaii received a grant award.  This is the second year of a three-year funding cycle for the returning grantees that currently provide local in-person assistance.  The 2015 Navigator Funding Opportunity Announcement required applicants to submit a proposal covering the full 36-month project period.  Funding is released in 12 month increments as CMS continually assesses Navigator grantees’ performance for ongoing support.

For a list of CMS Navigator awardees or more information about Navigators and other Marketplace resources, please visit:


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