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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: New collection; Title of Information Collection: Cooperative Agreement to Support Establishment of the Affordable Care Act's Health Insurance Exchanges; Use: All States (including the 50 States, consortia of States, and the District of Columbia herein referred to as States) that received a State Planning and Establishment Grant for Affordable Care Act's Exchanges are eligible for the Cooperative Agreement to Support Establishment of the Affordable Care Act's Health Insurance Exchanges. The State of Alaska did not apply for either the original Planning grant made available in September 2010, nor the second Planning grant made available in January 2011 exclusively to States that did not apply for the first. Because Alaska did not receive funding under Section 1311 for planning and establishment of an Exchange within one year of the enactment of the Affordable Care Act, by Statute, it will not be eligible for Section 1311 Exchange planning and establishment money in the future. Section 1311 of the Affordable Care Act provides for grants to States for the planning and establishment of these Exchanges. Given the innovative nature of Exchanges and the statutorily prescribed relationship between the Secretary and States in their development and operation, it is critical that the Secretary work closely with States to provide necessary guidance and technical assistance to ensure that States can meet the prescribed timelines, federal requirements, and goals of the statute.

In order to provide appropriate and timely guidance and technical assistance, the Secretary must have access to timely, periodic information regarding State progress. Consequently, the information collection associated with these grants is essential to facilitating reasonable and appropriate federal monitoring of funds, providing statutorily mandated assistance to States to implement Exchanges in accordance with Federal requirements, and to ensure that States have all necessary information required to proceed, such that retrospective corrective action can be minimized.

There are two levels of awards for States to apply for the Establishment grants. Grants are open to States that received federal funding for Exchange Planning activities, awardees of the Cooperative Agreements to Support Innovative Exchange Information Technology Systems, and awardees under the Cooperative Agreement to Support Establishment of State-Operated Health Insurance Exchanges. Level One Establishment cooperative agreements provide one year of funding to States that are ready to initiate establishment activities having made progress under their Exchange Planning grant. Level Two Establishment cooperative agreements are designed to provide funding to applicants for the establishment of a State-based Exchange and that can demonstrate specific eligibility criteria. Level One Establishment grantees may apply for additional funding under Level Two Establishment grants once they have achieved the benchmarks identified in the Level Two Establishment review criteria.

HHS anticipates releasing this funding opportunity on June 15, 2012. There will be four opportunities for applicants to apply for funding. HHS anticipates Level One Establishment and Level Two Establishment applications will be due: August 1, 2012; November 1, 2012; February 1, 2013; May 1, 2013; August 1, 2013; November 1, 2013; February 3, 2014; May 1, 2014; August 1, 2014; and November 3, 2014. The Period of Performance for Level One Establishment grants is up to one year after date of award. The Period of Performance for Level Two Establishment grants is up to three years after date of award. Form Number: CMS-10424 (OCN: 0938-NEW); Frequency: Annually; Affected Public: State, Local, or Tribal Governments. Number of Respondents: 50. Number of Responses: 325. Total Annual Hours: 49,175. (For policy questions regarding this collection contact Katherine Harkins at 301-492-4445. 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 address at http://www.cms.hhs.gov/PaperworkReductionActof1995, or Email your request, including your address, phone number, OMB number, and CMS document identifier, to Paperwork@cms.hhs.gov, or call the Reports Clearance Office on (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 May 1, 2012:

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.

Dated: February 27, 2012.

Martique Jones,

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

[FR Doc. 2012-5011 Filed 2-27-12; 4:15 pm]

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