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Grants Aim to Increase Flexibility in Health Insurance Markets

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced $8.1 million in grants for states to plan and implement marketplace reforms.

The State Flexibility to Stabilize the Market grant program will target funding to assess and potentially alter states’ essential health benefits (EHB) packages.

The grants are intended to increase state flexibility and allow states to more effectively regulate their respective health insurance markets. CMS recommends these areas of focus for states using the funds:

  • guaranteed availability of coverage, including ensuring that all approved insurance products are available to any individual or group that would like to purchase them in the appropriate market;
  • guaranteed renewability of coverage for consumers in the individual, small-group, and large-group markets; and
  • nondiscrimination under the EHB package, including ensuring that issuers do not include discriminatory benefit designs that discourage people with potentially high-cost medical conditions from enrolling in certain plans

States should submit a letter of intent by Feb. 26 and an application by April 5. Awards will be announced June 5. Funding is expected to last two years, through June 2020.

Contact Director of Policy Erin O’Malley at eomalley@essentialhospitals.org or 202.585.0127 with questions.

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About the Author

Rachel Schwartz is a policy associate at America's Essential Hospitals.