Federal Navigator Funding Opportunity Announced

At long last, organizations can now apply for federal navigator funding in 33 states where the federal government will run the Health Insurance Marketplace or there is a State Partnership Exchange. The program will fund a total of $54 million dollars in grants (actually cooperative agreements).  Grants will range from $600,000 to $8.1 million based on the number of uninsured lawfully residing residents in the state. Thirteen states will receive the minimum funding level of $600,000 while Florida and Texas will get a large chunk of the funding at $5.8 and $8.1 million respectively.

Potential applicants are asked to submit a letter of intent by May 1, 2013. Applications are due on June 7, 2013 and HHS expects to announce the awards on August 15, 2013, coinciding with the launch of navigator training and the certification process. The awards will be structured as Cooperative Agreements and will be funded for up to 12 months. The difference between grants and cooperative agreements is in the degree of federal programmatic involvement rather than the type of administrative requirements.

Consortia of state groups are encouraged to apply. Applicants may also submit a single proposal to work in multiple states, but must itemize separate budgets for each state. In states where there is a State Partnership Exchange, state agencies may not apply for funding of applications but counties in those states will be considered on a case-by-case basis. The amount of each award will vary based on the number of applicants. Applications that intend to reach only a subset of uninsured must submit a budget that is proportional to the overall funding available in the state based on the uninsured population. State-by-state uninsured numbers and total funding available to each state is listed on pages 9-10 of the funding announcement.

Navigators may have to adhere to state licensing, certification or other standards, but only if such standards do not prevent them from fulfilling their responsibilities as required by the Affordable Care Act. The recent standards proposed for federal navigators will be binding for all awardees once finalized.

Before starting the application process, organizations must be registered, a process that we explained in a blog a few weeks ago. Applicants must submit standard forms, a cover letter and a detailed narrative plan that:

  • describes the entity, the expertise of its staff, and its accomplishments;
  • outlines the scope of activities;
  • details a workplan and timeline; and
  • includes a budget and budget narrative

Proposals will be selected based on the technical merits of the application. All applications will be reviewed by an objective review panel and ranked on a 100-point scale. In states where multiple proposals are submitted, those that propose to serve more of the target populations will be given priority.

Navigators will play a critical role in connecting consumers to coverage and we encourage qualified and experienced organizations to apply. While we are disappointed at the overall funding level, which will be discussed in the upcoming final blog of our Navigator/assister series, it is important to maximize every opportunity to get boots on the ground.

The funding opportunity announcement can be found by searching for CDF # 93.750 on www.grants.gov.

Tricia Brooks
Tricia Brooks is a Senior Fellow at the Center for Children and Families