Vermont’s Exchange to award $2 million to community partners for outreach and enrollment
The Department of Vermont Health Access (DVHA) has announced an open, competitive grant application for Vermont Health Connect’ s Navigator program. Through the application, the State seeks to identify organizations best qualified to help small businesses and eligible Vermonters access health coverage. A total of $2 million in grants will be announced in late May. Launching in October, Vermont Health Connect will enable individuals, families, and small businesses to compare health coverage options, enroll in the plans that are right for them, and secure financial assistance. While many Vermonters are expected to welcome the opportunity to compare plans and enroll through the Vermont Health Connect website, many others will prefer to turn to the Vermont-based call center or in-person help. The Navigator program ensures that such help will be readily available to small businesses and individuals across the state. ‘ We are fortunate to live in a state with a rich array of business associations, community groups, and social service agencies,’ said DVHA Commissioner Mark Larson. ‘ Through our Navigator grants we’ ll be able to leverage these organizations’ expertise to assist Vermont families and small businesses. Together, we’ ll make quality health coverage more accessible to more Vermonters.’ The grant application is divided into three tiers to ensure that resources are available both statewide and for specific populations most in need of customized support. Organizations are permitted to partner to submit one application and are encouraged to do so if their capacity alone cannot meet Navigator Organization duties and requirements. Vermont Health Connect anticipates a diverse set of highly qualified applicants. An October 2012 Request for Information found that more than 150 organizations across the state are interested in providing this type of assistance. Approximately 18 to 24 applicants will be funded across the tiers. Grantees will designate individual Navigators to receive training and begin outreach work in July. Navigators will then provide in-person enrollment assistance when Vermont Health Connect opens in October. Applications can be found at VermontHealthConnect.gov and are due April 29 at 4:30 pm.