With open enrollment for 2017 only a few weeks away, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), announced $600,000 Navigator grant awards to returning organizations in West Virginia. The awards will support local in-person assistance to help West Virginia consumers navigate, shop, and enroll in the wide variety of Marketplace coverage options. In total, CMS announced $63 million in Navigator grant awards to all states using the Federally-facilitated Marketplace.
“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 https://localhelp.healthcare.gov to find assistance in their area.
This year, 96 returning organizations in the Federally-facilitated Marketplace, and two 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.
West Virginia Navigators that received awards include:
• West Virginia University Research Corp.
• First Choice Services, Inc.
For a list of CMS Navigator awardees or more information about Navigators and other Marketplace resources, please visit: https://www.cms.gov/CCIIO/Programs-and-Initiatives/Health-Insurance-Marketplaces/Downloads/Navigator-Grantee-Summaries-2016.pdf