States continue to move forward, build Affordable Insurance Exchanges
“We continue to support states as they move forward building an Exchange that works for them,” Secretary Sebelius said. “Thanks to the health care law, Americans will have more health insurance choices and the ability to compare insurance plans.” Arkansas has been on the move with organizing meetings and plans on how to recruit and train hundreds of temporary workers to enroll uninsured Arkansans. According to the state's exchange planning manager Cynthia Crone the task of selecting partners and discovering the workforce will be the task of the Consumer Assistance Advisory Committee. Even as Mrs. Sebelius's announcement rolled out, local planning has outpaced other states as only Arkansas and Delware are engaging directly with the federal government to operate the exchanges. Enrollment in the programs is slated to begin October 2013 and some 572,000 residents are expected to be shopping the exchanges for affordable products regulated by the state Insurance Department. Local community based organizations will have an opportunity to bid on being apart of the training infrasturcture with workers being employed for about six months and paid about $12 an hour outlined by Crone.
The statement also cited that in every state, Exchanges will allow consumers to shop for and enroll in private health plans that meet their needs. Consumers will be able to learn if they are eligible for tax credits and cost-sharing reductions, or other health care programs like the Children’s Health Insurance Program. Small employers will be eligible to receive tax credits for coverage purchased for employees through the Exchange. These competitive marketplaces make purchasing health insurance easier and more understandable and offer consumers and small businesses increased competition and choice.
Today’s awards will give states additional resources and flexibility to establish an Exchange. California, Hawaii, Iowa, and New York today have been awarded Level One Exchange Establishment grants, which provide one year of funding to states that have begun the process of building their Exchange. Connecticut, Maryland, Nevada, and Vermont were awarded Level Two Establishment grants, which are provided to states that are further along in building their Exchange and offers funding over multiple years.
Previously, 49 states, the District of Columbia and four territories received grants to begin planning their Exchanges. With today’s awardees, 34 states and the District of Columbia have also received Establishment grants to begin building their Exchanges.
On June 29, HHS announced a funding opportunity providing states with 10 additional opportunities to apply for funding to establish a state-based Exchange, state Partnership Exchange, or prepare state systems for a Federally-facilitated Exchange. States can apply for Exchange grants through the end of 2014, and may use funds during the initial start-up year. This schedule ensures that states have the support and time necessary to build an Exchange that best fits the needs of their residents.
A detailed breakdown of each grant award and what each state plans to do with its Exchange funding is available through the map tool on Healthcare.gov, http://www.healthcare.gov/news/factsheets/2011/05/exchanges05232011a.html.
For more information on Exchanges, including fact sheets, visit http://www.healthcare.gov/exchanges.
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HHS Seeks Input on Streamlining HIV Data Collection, Reducing Reporting Burden for HIV Grantees
In a previous AIDS.gov blog post, we discussed our work to implement the National HIV/AIDS Strategy’s call to streamline and standardize the collection, sharing, and processing of programmatic and fiscal data to simplify administration of HIV services grants.
Toward this aim, the Office of HIV/AIDS and Infectious Disease Policy (OHAIDP) has launched Phase II of a multiphase project that will culminate in the development of HHS agency implementation plans for streamlining HIV data collection and reducing grantee reporting burden while preserving the capacity to monitor the quality of HIV services and report on program impact nationwide. By reducing undue reporting burden we believe that grantees will free-up capacity that can be devoted to the delivery of HIV services. But to be sure we take steps that meaningfully and measurably achieve our goals, we need to hear from those most affected by the current HIV grant reporting requirements.
To better understand these reporting requirements from grantees’ and sub-grantees’ perspectives, we have published a Request for Information (RFI) “Guidance on Data Streamlining and Reducing Undue Reporting Burden for HHS-funded HIV Prevention, Treatment, and Care Services Grantees,” which invites respondents to share recommendations on such matters as:
- How much time, resources, and personnel costs are required to meet federal HIV grants administration requirements?
- Which requirements are most burdensome and which are most useful for program planning, monitoring, evaluation, or program improvements?
- What specific changes in federal, state, local, or tribal government policies, improvements in public health infrastructure, or other modifications are needed to achieve an optimized balance between data streamlining, reporting burden, and outcome monitoring?
- What specific policies and infrastructure are needed to standardize data requirements at the national, state, and local levels across federal programs supporting HIV/AIDS services?
- What specific solutions have grantees, sub-grantees, or contractors implemented to manage the administration requirements for data collection, monitoring, and reporting?
- Which required indicators and data elements can be eliminated without affecting adversely the capacity to monitor outcomes of HHS HIV services programs?
- What extant HIV data reporting systems or approaches to data reporting are the most effective, efficient, and acceptable for grantees? What recommendations would you offer for facilitating both data reporting and data sharing between funders and grantees?
- How best to measure our progress streamlining data collection and reducing reporting burden?