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State Not Applying for Innovator Grant

In late October, the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced competitive, two-year “Early Innovator” grants for up to five states to help them design and implement innovative information technology (IT) systems that will be used to support operation of the Health Insurance Exchanges. The grant application deadline is Wednesday, December 22, 2010.


The grant required each state-applicant to put forth a well-developed proposal outlining a new IT system of enrollment, renewal, and information storage/transfer under health reform. Throughout November and December, the Schwarzenegger administration met with many stakeholders to try develop a shared vision. Unfortunately, the state announced last week that California would not be applying for the grant due to a “lack of consensus.”

Despite the fact that California will not be applying for this grant, the state will continue to drive this conversation and will hopefully have an agreed-upon system “in the coming weeks.”

Other Opportunities

In addition to the “Early Innovator” grants, CMS is currently considering a proposed rule that would allows states to be eligible for enhanced Federal matching for development and maintenance, 90% and 75% respectively, of their eligibility determination IT systems. The 90% match will be available until December 31, 2015 and the 75% match will be available beyond that date if states continue to meet certain criteria.

The enhanced match would give incentivize the development of an efficient and effective system of enrollment/renewal that works for all Californians.

Also, there is new federal IT guidance to help states design and implement the IT needed to simplify/streamline enrollment in the Exchanges, Medicaid and CHIP.