1. Assister Help Resource Center
We are pleased to announce the upcoming launch of the Assister Help Resource Center, a pilot project to test and provide an assister “help desk” during the individual market Open Enrollment period for the 2015 plan year. CMS is conducting this pilot project in an effort to improve assister-support services, and to respond to assister community feedback on lessons learned from the enrollment process during the first individual market Open Enrollment period. Assisters cited the need for a dedicated resource center that could provide timely technical guidance, information, and solutions to resolve complex application and enrollment issues that assisters encountered during efforts to help consumers enroll in a qualified health plan (QHP), Medicaid, or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
The pilot Resource Center will serve as a centralized, complementary service to the Marketplace Call Center to provide support to assisters in their efforts to help consumers with complex issues related to applications, eligibility determinations and redeterminations, and re-enrollment. The pilot Resource Center will be available to Navigators and Enrollment Assistance Program (EAP) assisters in North Carolina, Louisiana, and Pennsylvania, in a phased approach for the upcoming Open Enrollment period. Navigators and EAP assisters in these states will still look to the Marketplace Call Center as their primary source of support, but the AHRC will be available to them as a secondary resource for cases which the Call Center is not able to address.
The Resource Center will begin by serving Navigators and EAP assisters in North Carolina at the beginning of Open Enrollment in November, followed by Louisiana in December, and Pennsylvania in January. This pilot program will help give CMS timely awareness of complex issues that consumers encounter in the enrollment process, will provide us the opportunity to share issues and resolutions with all assisters, through guidance, trainings, and established communications such as assister listservs, newsletters, and webinars.
We understand that many of you would like to participate in this pilot, and we ask for your patience as we work towards that goal. CMS has collected many lessons learned from the initial Open Enrollment period, including the value of incrementally phasing-in functionalities and processes prior to expanded implementation. Thus, it is critically important that we begin with a smaller project so that we can learn the best way to serve all assisters in the future.
2. NEW CMSzOne Community Online Resource Library Pilot for Marketplace Assisters
CMS invites you to take advantage of a new online resource that will allow assisters and other stakeholders to share materials developed to support consumers applying for and enrolling in Marketplace coverage, particularly resources in languages other than English. The Online Resource Library for Assisters is housed at CMSzONE, a social platform for organizations and individuals collaborating with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services on initiatives such as outreach during the Marketplace Open Enrollment period. To access the platform, use this link: https://zone.cms.gov/. The library will serve as a resource to allow you to see and share materials and learn about initiatives that other assisters and stakeholders have developed to promote enrollment. For example, you can use the community to look for ideas for a flyer for an outreach event, share a new presentation on the ACA, or share a multi-lingual media advisory your organization created for open enrollment. We’ll also discuss this resource during this Friday’s assister webinar, including information on how assisters and consumer advocacy groups can sign up, so stay tuned. If you have questions, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org.