On September 2, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that it had awarded $67 million in grants as part of its Marketplace Navigator program.

The CMS Marketplace Navigator program is a service designed to provide assistance and outreach to consumers in connection with understanding their healthcare coverage options, identifying available financial assistance and enrolling in healthcare coverage. The CMS program includes "navigators" and "assisters” who are trained as consumer resources in their respective communities and are available in person to answer questions and assist with navigating and evaluating the range of healthcare plans available on HealthCare.gov, as well as other available public healthcare programs such as Medicaid.

The latest Marketplace Navigator grants were awarded to approximately 100 organizations located in the 34 states that operate either “Federally Facilitated Marketplaces” and “State Partnership Marketplaces.” Of the 100 grantees, approximately two-thirds were previously awarded Marketplace Navigator grants. The latest grants were awarded for a three-year period and CMS will monitor and review the performance of grantees on an ongoing basis to evaluate each grantee’s performance. 

The CMS announcement comes two months before the November 1 beginning of the Marketplace Open Enrollment period, during which consumers can enroll in healthcare insurance in those marketplaces, or exchanges, that are operated by the federal government either alone or in partnership with a state.