The funds are meant to help states comply with federal regulations and to seek innovative ways to regulate their respective health insurance markets to improve coverage.
Specifically, states can use the money for consumer protections guaranteed by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), including the guaranteed availability of coverage, guaranteed renewability of coverage, and essential health benefits.
The funds also can be used for things such as economic analyses, examining plan policies, procedures, and claims data related to access to mental health and substance use disorder treatment services, including opioid treatment services; and hiring or contracting with a clinician to review formularies (drug lists).
“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,” Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma said.
“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.”
According to CMS, the funds come from $250 million in grant money that the federal government allocated to states to review proposed health insurance rates. Some states returned the funding because they were under budget, and others didn’t request any funding.
The grants have a project and budget period of two years, starting Aug. 20.