Get America Covered: Planning for Open Enrollment 3 Webcast – Wednesday, Nov. 4, 1pm – 2pm CT (12noon-1pm MT)

HRSA is hosting this webinar which will include key updates and messages for this year’s Open Enrollment season. This session will feature the North Carolina Community Health Center Association and Western Maryland Health Corporation who will share their successful outreach and enrollment practices and lessons learned from the first two Open Enrollment periods. Open enrollment in Health Insurance Marketplace runs from November 1, 2015 through January 31, 2016.

View the webcast the day of the session.


Reminder: Opioid Abuse in the U.S.: An Urgent Public Health Crisis Webinar – Monday, November 2, 2015, 2pm – 3:30pm CT (1-2:30pm MT)

The National Institute for Health Care Management (NIHCM) Foundation is hosting this webinar to feature innovative efforts to reverse opioid abuse trends.

Check out the draft agenda and register for this webinar.

HRSA Conference Call to review recent news, the HRSA grant process, and answer questions about EHBs on Tues., Nov. 3 at 12noon-2pm CT (11am-1pm MT) or on Wed., Nov. 4 at 8:30-10:30am CT (7:30am-9:30am MT)

The HRSA electronic grants administration system known as Electronic Handbooks (EHBs) is an important tool for administering your HRSA grant(s). The EHB enables you to efficiently submit and retrieve HRSA grant information electronically.

To ensure that all HRSA grantees are informed, the grants office is conducting two conference calls to review recent news, the HRSA grants process, and to answer your questions. Each conference call will include the same introduction and review of slides followed by a question and answer session. HRSA experts will be available on each conference call to answer your questions. There is no need for you to participate in more than one conference call and you do not need computer access during the call.

Conference Call Dates/Times: Tuesday, November 3, 2015 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. (EASTERN TIME) Wednesday, November 4, 2015 9:30 – 11:30 a.m. (EASTERN TIME) Conference call number for both sessions: 888-469-2187 International call number for both sessions: 1-630-395-0290 The passcode for both international and domestic callers is: 1181506

The first portion of the conference call will refer to the slide presentation. You may wish to have these in front of you during the conference call, although it is not required. Please click here to download the presentation: HRSA Grantee Conference Call and Q&A November 2015. The calls are recorded and uploaded on the HRSAs website, typically within a week, and will be available for 60 days. The HRSA team looks forward to working with you to efficiently manage all your grant needs.


The Friday, October 9 assister webinar featured a presentation on how and when assisters can work with and/or inform consumers about the services of agents and brokers. The presentation was based on this CMS tip sheet, which was released last February 2015. Below are answers to questions that we received from assisters; we will feature answers to additional questions in a future newsletter.

  • Click here to view slides from this presentation; you can also view them along with other Guidance & regulations on assister programs here.

Q1: What educational requirements apply to agents and brokers? 

A1: Agents and brokers participating in the Federally-facilitated Marketplaces (FFMs) for the individual market must complete FFM training prior to working with consumers to assist with eligibility determinations and QHP enrollment. This process includes a mandatory annual training on the individual FFM similar to the training that other assisters are required to complete. An outline and summary of the plan year 2015 training is available here.

Additional educational resources available to agents and brokers are posted on the “Resources for Agents and Brokers in the Health Insurance Marketplaces” page of the CMS website, which includes a newsletter for agents and brokers in the FFM that features information regarding webinars, training and

Q2: What are some other examples of “objective sorting criteria” that my organization can use to create a specific listing of agents and brokers to provide to consumers?

A2: First, it is important to note that if a consumer asks you to provide a more specific listing of agents and brokers to help him or her decide who to contact, you must apply objective sorting criteria when creating such a listing. Second, as examples of objective sorting criteria, you could generate a specific listing of all agents or brokers in a particular zip code or city and state. In addition, alone, or in combination with a geographically-targeted listing, a specific listing could include all agents or brokers that your state identifies as trained in or capable of assisting with Medicaid enrollments or that have expressed an interest in assisting consumers who come to assisters for help. Other possible objective sorting criteria might include language capability, years of experience, or a listing of agents and brokers that can sell all QHPs offered in a service area because they have a contract with all health insurers.

It is important to inform consumers who would like to see a specific listing what sorting criteria were applied, who compiled the list, and that the list is limited based on the objective sorting criteria applied. The listing itself should not be sorted in such a manner that it gives the appearance of endorsing certain agents or brokers. For example, an alphabetical listing would be appropriate, or a listing that is based on distance from a particular location.

Q3: If an assister organization invites all agents/brokers in the area to an event the assister organization is hosting, but only a few agree to participate, is this a problem?

A3: When hosting events that include agents and brokers, the most important thing is for assisters to adhere to their duty of impartiality, not use an agent or broker as a substitute for performing any of their required duties, and not accept any direct or indirect compensation from an agent or broker that could be tied to the compensation that the agent or broker receives from health insurance or stop loss insurance issuers related to enrollment in QHPs or non-QHPs.

If the assister organization extends invitations to all agents and brokers in a particular area and only some attend the event, the assister can maintain impartiality even if only some of them agree to participate by being careful not to express or imply an endorsement of, or preference for, any specific attendee or for the group of agents/brokers that attends.

Finally, as described in the February CMS tips sheet, we recognize that both assisters and agents and brokers might benefit from sharing expertise and best practices with each other. We want to reassure you that nothing prohibits you from networking or sharing your knowledge and expertise with agents and brokers, or seeking out knowledge and expertise from an agent or broker provided that you do not use the agent or broker as a substitute for performing any of the services that are required of you as an assister, and provided that you do not receive any consideration of any kind (direct or indirect, cash or in-kind) from an agent or broker that could be tied to the compensation received by that agent or broker from a health insurance or stop loss insurance issuer for enrolling a person in a QHP or non-QHP.


The information below on password resets is updated and new information is in bold. The updates include information on how to gain access to forgotten usernames and forgotten passwords. Below is a summary of these tips.

NEW: As assisters, you may work with consumers who no longer have access to the email address they used to set up their account. Consumers can now change or update the email address associated with their account by calling the Marketplace Call Center at 1-800-318-2596. After an email address is updated, any requested password reset or account unlock emails will go to the new email address so that the consumer can regain access to their account. Note that consumers cannot update the email address to one that is already associated with another account. Also, remember that updating the email address will only change the email associated with their account; consumers cannot change the username associated with their account. They will still need to use the original user name to log in, even if their username is their old email address. When consumers call the Call Center to update the email address associated with their account, they should also let the Marketplace know if they would like to update their communication preferences from the Marketplace if they would also like to receive notifications from the Marketplace at that email address.

Tips for Unlocking Accounts

  • If a consumer tries to reset his or her password and does not get an email from the Marketplace, the consumer may be using the wrong username. To make sure the consumer is using the correct username, he or she should use the “Forgot your username?” option to retrieve it, and then reset the account password.
  • Consumers who created their Marketplace accounts before February 2014 probably do not have their email addresses as their usernames. By clicking on “Forgot your username?” the consumer will be able to retrieve his or her username after correctly answering three security questions.
  • If a consumer answers his or her security questions incorrectly, he or she should contact the Marketplace Call Center to have his or her account unlocked.
  • After contacting the Call Center, the consumer will receive an email at the email address that he or she selected when initially setting up a Marketplace account. Consumers can also call the Marketplace Call Center if they would like to change or update the email address associated with their account. Note that consumers cannot use an email address that is already associated with another account, and consumers will still need to use their same username to log in. If he or she does not receive an email, the consumer should check the account’s spam folder as well as any other email accounts that the consumer has.
  • The email from the Marketplace will contain the consumer’s username; the consumer should use that username to log back into his or her Marketplace account. At that point, the consumer will be directed to change his or her password.

Tips for Password Reset

  • If a consumer forgets his or her Marketplace account password or needs to change it, he or she should click on the “Forgot your password?” option.
  • An email will be sent to the address that the consumer provided when initially setting up an account. Consumers can also call the Marketplace Call Center if they would like to change or update the email address associated with their account. Note that consumers cannot use an email address that is already associated with another account, and consumers will still need to use their same username to log in. If he or she does not receive an email, the consumer should check the account’s spam folder as well as any other email accounts that the consumer has.
  • The email will contain a link that the consumer should click on.  If that doesn’t work, the consumer can cut and paste the link into their web browser. The consumer should follow the directions and then choose a new password. Next, the consumer should use the correct username and new password to log into his or her Marketplace account.

Important: If consumers are having trouble logging in, they should not try to create a new account. They will not be allowed to create a duplicate account using the same Social Security Number.

If these tips don’t work, please contact the Marketplace Call Center. Customer service representatives can reset passwords and unlock accounts.

Reminder: Medicare Open Enrollment Takes Place from October 15 – December 7, 2015

The Medicare Open Enrollment period, which began last week, takes place each year from October 15 through December 7. While Marketplace Assisters work primarily to help consumers enroll in coverage through, their state Marketplace, or through Medicaid/CHIP, it may be helpful to be aware that Medicare Open Enrollment is currently taking place. For example, if you are working with a family with one or more members eligible for Medicare, you should be aware that this individual will have different coverage needs. Consumers who have become eligible for Medicare may wish to cancel their Marketplace plans. For more information, click here for details on Medicare Open Enrollment, including state-by-state fact sheets.

For more information on Medicare and the Marketplace, see this page on Assisters can also click here to learn more about how to help consumers cancel their Marketplace plan once they become eligible for Medicare.


IMPORTANT REMINDER: Open Enrollment in 2 weeks – Assisters should complete 2016 Assister Training if not already done

HCAN and CMS strongly encourage assisters to complete the 2016 Assister Training if they have not yet done so. Please see the “Training” section of .

Advocacy Legalese Webinar by Feldman-Tucker law firm on Wed., Nov. 4 at 1pm CT (12noon MT)

On Wednesday, November 4th at 2PM ET, the advocacy team will host an Advocacy Legalese webinar with legal experts from Feldsman-Tucker law firm. The webinar will focus on what health centers need to know to be compliant with IRS, federal, and state regulations when conducting advocacy and civic engagement work. Join us to learn which funding streams may be utilized for advocacy and civic engagement activities, and the dos and don’ts of advocacy and lobbying as a 501c3 non-profit entity. To register, click here.

HHS enhances preparedness with new products to treat severe burns

Four novel products to treat severe thermal burns will be developed and acquired under contracts with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR). The products are intended to enhance the available treatment options for disaster response and are being designed to find uses in routine clinical burn care. Read more about the HHS announcement.


Certified application counselors (CACs), Navigators, and in-person assisters in the Federally-facilitated Marketplaces (FFMs) can access the 2016 Assister Training on MLMS through the CMS Enterprise Portal. We understand that some assisters have been experiencing issues with accessing the training and/or having their training progress recorded.  We appreciate your patience as we continue to work through glitches in the new training system and MLMS helpdesk operations. To help assist you with technical training issues, please see the resources below.

Resources: We encourage assisters to visit the “Training” section of to find materials that will help you access and complete the training. We also encourage assisters to see last week’s newsletter, which included answers to frequently asked questions about the training.

NEW Troubleshooting Tips:

When Your Training Progress Isn’t Recorded by the MLMS:

  1. The system works best with Chrome or Firefox and is currently experiencing issues with Internet Explorer and Microsoft Edge.   For the best performance, we recommend assisters use either Chrome or Firefox to access the training.
  2. If MLMS did not record your progress, try logging out of the system and logging in again. Navigate to the Completed Learning page to see if your “completed courses” listing has been updated to reflect your progress.
  3. If the steps above don’t resolve the issue, complete the training and print or save screen shots of the course completion pages. Then contact the MLMS helpdesk.

Contacting the MLMS helpdesk:

If you need assistance to resolve your training issues, please send inquiries to

Once an email is submitted, please do not contact other helpdesks on the same issue, which will be routed to the MLMS helpdesk.  This will help reduce the number of duplicate inquiries that the helpdesk must address and allow the helpdesk to address new inquiries. The MLMS Help Desk will respond to your email within eight business hours. Business hours are Monday – Friday: 8:00 am-8:00 pm EST and Saturday-Sunday: 9:00 am-5:00 pm ET.

When contacting the MLMS Help Desk, providing the following information in your initial email may help to resolve the issue more quickly:

  1. Document all progress using screenshots
  2. If you encounter an issue while using MLMS, send the following information to the MLMS Helpdesk:
  3. A comprehensive description of the issue
  4. Any applicable screenshots of your current location in the system and completed learning (courses or exams)
  5. Your operating system (e.g. Windows 7, 8.1, etc.)
  6. Your computer type (e.g. Windows, Mac)
  7. Your browser type and version (e.g. Chrome, Firefox, etc.)
  8. Whether JavaScript and Adobe Flash Player are enabled

REMINDER Troubleshooting Tips:If you are having trouble logging into the training, please confirm the following:

For Navigators:

  • The first and last names that you have entered in MLMS are exactly the same as those your supervisor entered in HIOS when generating your thirteen digit HIOS ID number;
  • You have entered your thirteen digit HIOS ID number correctly; and
  • You are using your organization email address to log in, and not using an email address created with a public email domain name, such as Gmail, Hotmail, or Yahoo.

For all assisters, including Navigators:

  • You are not using Internet Explorer or Microsoft Edge, because MLMS is experiencing issues with operating on these browsers. Instead, you should be using a recent version of a different web browser, such as Chrome or Firefox, while we work to resolve the issues.

CMS wants to ensure that you have the best training experience possible.  In the event that the number of users exceeds system capacity, MLMS may employ measures to manage the number of assisters accessing the system at any one time to maintain system performance.  If you experience extended wait times to take the training or have trouble accessing MLMS, you may want to log out of the system and return at non-peak hours (weekdays 5pm-11am and on weekends).

CMS Bulletin on Navigator and CAC Recertification: This Bulletin provides guidance on training, certification, and recertification requirements and procedures for Navigators, CACs, and CAC designated organizations in the FFMs (including SPMs). Please see the September 16 and August 26, 2015 newsletters for a summary, and click here to view the bulletin.