For Immediate Release Contact: 860-297-3989 or
August 27, 2012 860-214-9675
Office of the Healthcare Advocate Awarded $408,155 Consumer Assistance Program Grant under Affordable Care Act
Hartford, CT – State Healthcare Advocate Victoria Veltri announced today that the Office of the Healthcare Advocate (OHA) was awarded a new federal consumer assistance program (CAP) grant in the amount of $408,155 to help Connecticut health insurance consumers with complaints and appeals, education and enrollment. The consumer assistance grant award, announced on August 24th by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, (HHS), is authorized under the Affordable Care Act.
One CAP award is granted per state. OHA holds the current status as the federally designated state CAP. OHA was awarded the previous two state CAP grants, $396,400 in 2010 and $127,967 in June 2012 in a limited competition round of funding. Veltri said, “We are thankful that HHS resumed full funding of consumer assistance programs across the United States and are particularly gratified that HHS again recognized OHA’s record of success and expertise in providing consumer education, enrollment and appeals assistance and our use of the data we collect to propose changes to improve our healthcare system.”
The CAP grant award requires OHA to engage in activities that coincide with OHA’s current statutory responsibilities. OHA was a model for the CAP provision under the Affordable Care Act; the similarity of duties is not coincidental.
OHA will hire three new staff under the CAP grant. The posting for an additional position for a nurse consultant under a previous limited competition grant closes on August 31st.
Under the current grant award, OHA will partner with partner with local entities for significant outreach and education to social service organizations, schools, libraries, small business groups and others. OHA will produce a webcast series and conduct a provider curriculum on appealing healthcare denials, among other activities.
Veltri praised the Connecticut congressional delegation for its role in restoring funds for the program, which is designed to provide a full range of consumer assistance now and in 2014 once the Exchange marketplace is established. “Our delegation, led by Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro, was instrumental in assuring the restoration of CAP funding. This was a multi-state effort of CAPs, advocacy organizations and the particularly strong efforts of Congresswoman DeLauro and Senator Rockefeller.”