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 The leading web portal for pharmacy resources, news, education and careers September 24, 2017
Pharmacy Choice - Pharmaceutical News - Rep. Kaptur Urges Trump Administration to Release Navigator Funding to Help Citizens Enroll in Health Insurance Plans - September 24, 2017

Pharmacy News Article

 9/13/17 - Rep. Kaptur Urges Trump Administration to Release Navigator Funding to Help Citizens Enroll in Health Insurance Plans

WASHINGTON, Sept. 12 Rep. Marcy Kaptur, D-Ohio, issued the following news release:

Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur (OH-09) today sent a letter urging the Trump administration to release promised funding for the Affordable Care Act's Navigator enrollment assistance grant program. The letter was led by Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter (NH-01) and cosigned by 31 House Democrats.

"Navigators are an essential resource for the American people, and the Navigator program is critical to the success of Open Enrollment. We urge you to unfreeze these funds immediately," the Members wrote. "Americans already face a number of new hurdles to enrolling in coverage during the upcoming Open Enrollment period, including an enrollment timeframe that has been cut in half and a 90% cut to the outreach budget that could have informed consumers about this significant change. Destabilizing the Navigator program could further compound the challenges consumers will face in understanding when and how to enroll."

The letter, addressed to Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Tom Price and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Seema Verma, notes that on Friday, September 1st, HHS unexpectedly froze committed funding for the Navigator grant period that was scheduled to begin on Saturday, September 2nd. As of Monday, September 11th, grantees had received no update on when they should expect to receive this essential funding. The letter urges that funds be released immediately with a retroactive date of September 2nd.

Members noted Navigators' significance in keeping the Marketplaces stable, writing: "Helping Americans sign up for Marketplace coverage has many benefits, including strengthening the risk pool of the individual health insurance market. Conversely, discouraging enrollment could weaken the market and drive up premiums."

Full text of today's letter:PDF icon2017.09.12 - HEA - Navigator Grants.pdfhttps://kaptur.house.gov/sites/kaptur.house.gov/files/wysiwyg-uploaded/2017.09.12%20-%20HEA%20-%20Navigator%20Grants.pdf

September 12, 2017

Secretary Tom Price

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

200 Independence Avenue, S.W.

Washington, D.C. 20201

Administrator Seema Verma

U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

7500 Security Boulevard

Baltimore, MD 21244

Dear Secretary Price and Administrator Verma:

We write to urge you to unfreeze Navigator grants and immediately release Notices of Award to 2017 program grantees. As you know, Navigators are essential to the success of Open Enrollment, which begins just a few weeks from now.

Navigators provide an essential, free service to people across the country who need help finding the best plan for their needs and budget. Since its inception, the Navigator program has helped over 9 million consumers learn about their coverage options. Comparing coverage options can be confusing, especially for people who haven't had insurance in the past. Navigators help consumers find and enroll in the plan that's best for them and their families.

On Friday, September 1st, your Department unexpectedly froze committed funding for the Navigator grant period that was scheduled to begin on Saturday, September 2nd. As of Monday, September 11th, grantees have received no update on when they should expect to receive this essential funding.

Disturbingly, we have heard reports that some Navigators have already been laid off because of CMS's highly unusual actions.

Americans already face a number of new hurdles to enrolling in coverage during the upcoming Open Enrollment period, including an enrollment timeframe that has been cut in half and a 90% cut to the outreach budget that could have informed consumers about this significant change. Destabilizing the Navigator program could further compound the challenges consumers will face in understanding when and how to enroll. Helping Americans sign up for Marketplace coverage has many benefits, including strengthening the risk pool of the individual health insurance market. Conversely, discouraging enrollment could weaken the market and drive up premiums.

Navigators are an essential resource for the American people, and the Navigator program is critical to the success of Open Enrollment. We urge you to unfreeze these funds immediately with a retroactive date of September 2nd.

Sincerely,

Carol Shea-Porter

Rick Larsen

David E. Price

Tom O'Halleran

Emanuel Cleaver

Jerrold Nadler

Ro Khanna

Steve Cohen

Adam Smith

Earl Blumenauer

Michelle Lujan Grisham

Raul Grijalva

Danny K. Davis

Ted Lieu

Dina Titus

Joe Courtney

Bill Foster

Marcy Kaptur

David Scott

Chellie Pingree

John Yarmuth

Tim Ryan

Charlie Crist

Denny Heck

Alma Adams

William R. Keating

Sean Patrick Maloney

Lucille Roybal-Allard

Jan Schakowsky

Bobby Scott

Donald S. Beyer Jr.



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