The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has awarded $8.6 million in funding to 30 states and the District of Columbia to help state insurance regulators strengthen their respective health insurance markets under the Affordable Care Act.
States are authorized to use the funds for such measures as conducting economic analyses and market scans of their health insurance market to boost the number of coverage options and
examine plan policies, procedures and claims-related data on access to mental health and substance use disorder treatment services, including opioid treatment services.
"These grants build on CMS's ongoing efforts to give states the tools and flexibility they need to help people struggling to afford the year-over-year premium increases caused by Obamacare regulations," said CMS Administrator Seema Verma. "We recognize that states are in the best position to assess the needs of their consumers and develop innovative measures to ensure access to affordable health coverage. These grants make yet another down payment on our work to enhance states' ability to stabilize and improve their respective health insurance markets."
The funding is part of $250 million provided by the ACA for state rate review grants meant to improve the process for how states review proposed health insurance rates.
The $8.6 million announced today is comprised of unspent rate review grant funding from previous years available to be awarded for the purposes of planning and implementing federal insurance reforms and consumer protections thanks to certain states not requesting funding from CMS or coming in under budget for their rate review grant projects.
The grants awarded today will have a project and budget period of 24 months from the award date, August 16, 2018, to August 14, 2020. All states that applied are receiving funding.
The use of unspent funds is not a new initiative. In October 2016, CMS used unspent funds from the rate review grants to award health insurance enforcement and consumer protections grants.