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Agency Information Collection Activities: Proposed Collection; Comment Request

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AGENCY:

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, HHS.

In compliance with the requirement of section 3506(c)(2)(A) of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is publishing the following summary of proposed collections for public comment. Interested persons are invited to send comments regarding this burden estimate or any other aspect of this collection of information, including any of the following subjects: (1) The necessity and utility of the proposed information collection for the proper performance of the agency's functions; (2) the accuracy of the estimated burden; (3) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (4) the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology to minimize the information collection burden.

1. Type of Information Collection Request: Revision of a currently approved collection; Title of Information Collection: Limited Competition for State Planning and Establishment Grants for the Affordable Care Act's Exchanges; Use: On March 23, 2010, the President signed into law the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. On March 30, 2010, the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 was signed into law. The two laws are collectively referred to as the Affordable Care Act. The Affordable Care Act includes a wide variety of provisions designed to expand coverage, provide more health care choices, enhance the quality of health care for all Americans, hold insurance companies more accountable, and lower health care costs.

The Affordable Care Act provides each State with the option to set up a State-operated Health Benefits Start Printed Page 21372Exchange. An Exchange is an organized marketplace to help consumers and small businesses buy health insurance in a way that permits easy comparison of available plan options based on price, benefits, and quality. By pooling people together, reducing transaction costs, and increasing price and quality transparency, Exchanges create more efficient and competitive health insurance markets for individuals and small employers. The Exchange will carry out a number of functions as required by the Affordable Care Act, including certifying qualified health plans, administering premium tax credits and cost-sharing reductions, responding to consumer requests for assistance, and providing an easy-to-use website and written materials that individuals can use to assess eligibility and enroll in health insurance coverage, and coordinating eligibility for and enrollment in other state health subsidy programs, including Medicaid and CHIP. Section 1311 of the Affordable Care Act provides for grants to States for the planning and establishment of American Health Benefit Exchanges. The Secretary is planning to disburse funds in at least three phases: first, for planning; second, for early information technology development; and third, for implementation. $51 million was made available for States for State Exchange planning. Forty-nine States and the District of Columbia applied and have been awarded grant funds. $5 million was made available for Territories Exchange early implementation. Five Territories were eligible to receive a Notice of Grant Award; four applied and have been awarded funds. States and Territories are eligible for up to $1 million each from this grant announcement, which will extend for up to twelve months. Form Number: CMS-10337 (OCN: 0938-1101); Frequency: Occasionally; Affected Public: State, Local, or Tribal Governments; Number of Respondents: 54; Number of Responses: 594; Total Annual Hours: 277,533. (For policy questions regarding this collection, contact Katherine Harkins at (301) 492-4445. For all other issues call (410) 786-1326.

2. Type of Information Collection Request: Extension of a currently approved collection; Title of Information Collection: Consumer Assistance Program Grants; Use: Section 1002 of the Affordable Care Act provides for the establishment of consumer assistance (or ombudsman) programs, starting in FY 2010. Federal grants will support these programs. For FY 2010, $30 million is appropriated. These programs will assist consumers with filing complaints and appeals, assist consumers with enrollment into health coverage, collect data on consumer inquiries and complaints to identify problems in the marketplace, educate consumers on their rights and responsibilities, and starting in 2014, resolve problems with premium credits for Exchange coverage. Importantly, these programs must provide detailed reporting on the types of problems and questions consumers may experience with health coverage, and how these are resolved. In order to strengthen oversight, the law requires programs to report data to the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) “As a condition of receiving a grant under subsection (a), an office of health insurance consumer assistance or ombudsman program shall be required to collect and report data to the Secretary on the types of problems and inquiries encountered by consumers” (Sec. 2793 (d)). Form Number: CMS-10333 (OMB-0938-1097); Frequency: Quarterly; Affected Public: Private Sector: State, Local, or Tribal Governments; Number of Respondents: 40; Number of Responses: 200; Total Annual Hours: 4,800 . (For policy questions regarding this collection, contact Eliza Bangit at (301) 492-4219. For all other issues call (410) 786-1326.)

To obtain copies of the supporting statement and any related forms for the proposed paperwork collections referenced above, access CMS' Web site at http://www.cms.gov/​PaperworkReductionActof1995/​PRAL/​list.asp#TopOfPage or e-mail your request, including your address, phone number, OMB number, and CMS document identifier, to Paperwork@cms.hhs.gov, or call the Reports Clearance Office at 410-786-1326.

In commenting on the proposed information collections please reference the document identifier or OMB control number. To be assured consideration, comments and recommendations must be submitted in one of the following ways by June 14, 2011:

1. Electronically. You may submit your comments electronically to http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for “Comment or Submission” or “More Search Options” to find the information collection document(s) accepting comments.

2. By regular mail. You may mail written comments to the following address: CMS, Office of Strategic Operations and Regulatory Affairs, Division of Regulations Development, Attention: Document Identifier/OMB Control Number, Room C4-26-05, 7500 Security Boulevard, Baltimore, Maryland 21244-1850.

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Martique Jones,

Director, Regulations Development Group, Division B, Office of Strategic Operations and Regulatory Affairs.

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[FR Doc. 2011-9208 Filed 4-14-11; 8:45 am]

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