- CMS has awarded $8.4 million to 31 states in an effort to stabilize state insurance markets and increase the number of affordable health plan options for beneficiaries.
Recipients are allowed to use the ACA-funded State Flexibility Grant Awards to conduct economic analyses of their insurance markets, examine health plan policies and benefits, and review claims data related to mental health and opioid treatment benefits.
CMS believes that these activities will encourage states to develop new policies that create cost-effective health plans with comprehensive benefits.
“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 ACA 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.”
Each state is awarded a minimum of $274,345 to finance market reform projects from August 20, 2018 to August 19, 2020. States are allowed to initiate up to three reform projects focused on essential health benefits, guaranteed availability of coverage, and guaranteed renewability of coverage reforms.
The agency added that other states that did not request grants from CMS, or completed separate ACA-funded projects under budget, created a surplus of funds. CMS said that it will provide additional funding to the states that are currently working on insurance market reforms.