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Notice

Health Insurance MarketplaceSM

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AGENCY:

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), HHS.

ACTION:

Notice.

SUMMARY:

This notice announces the renewal of the charter of the Advisory Panel on Outreach and Education APOE (the Panel) in accordance with the Federal Advisory Committee Act. The Panel advises and makes recommendations to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Start Printed Page 35531Services (CMS) on opportunities to enhance the effectiveness of consumer education strategies concerning the Health Insurance MarketplaceSM, Medicare, Medicaid, and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Additional information about the Panel is available on the Internet at: http://www.cms.gov/​Regulations-and-Guidance/​Guidance/​FACA/​APOE.html. Press inquiries are handled through the CMS Press Office at (202) 690-6145.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Thomas Dudley, (410) 786-1442.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Background

The Advisory Panel for Outreach and Education (APOE) (the Panel) is governed by the provisions of Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) (Pub. L. 92-463), as amended (5 U.S.C. appendix 2), which sets forth standards for the formation and use of federal advisory committees. The Panel is authorized by section 1114(f) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1314(f)) and section 222 of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 217a).

On January 21, 1999, the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) (the Secretary) signed the charter establishing the Citizen's Advisory Panel on Medicare Education [1] (the predecessor to the APOE) to advise and make recommendations to the Secretary and the Administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) on the effective implementation of national Medicare education programs, including with respect to the Medicare+Choice (M+C) program added by the Balanced Budget Act of 1997 (Pub. L. 105-33). (For more detailed information, see the February 17, 1999 Federal Register (64 FR 7899)).

The Medicare Modernization Act of 2003 (MMA) (Pub. L. 108-173) expanded the existing health plan options and benefits available under the M+C program and renamed it the Medicare Advantage (MA) program. CMS has substantial responsibilities to provide information to Medicare beneficiaries about the range of health plan options available and better tools to evaluate these options. Successful MA program implementation required CMS to consider views and policy input from a variety of private sector constituents and to develop a broad range of public-private partnerships.

In addition, Title I of the MMA authorized the Secretary and the Administrator of CMS (by delegation) to establish the Medicare prescription drug benefit. The drug benefit allows beneficiaries to obtain qualified prescription drug coverage. In order to effectively administer the MA program and the Medicare prescription drug benefit, CMS has substantial responsibilities to provide information to Medicare beneficiaries about the range of health plan options and benefits available and to develop better tools to evaluate these plans and benefits.

The Affordable Care Act (Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Public Law 111-148, and Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010, Public Law 111-152) expanded the availability of options for health care coverage and enacted a number of changes to Medicare as well as to Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Qualified individuals and qualified employers are now able to purchase private health insurance coverage through competitive marketplaces, called an Affordable Insurance Exchange (also called Health Insurance Marketplace[SM] ,[2] or MarketplaceSM). In order to effectively implement and administer these changes, we must provide information to consumers, providers, and other stakeholders through education and outreach programs regarding how existing programs will change and the expanded range of health coverage options available, including private health insurance coverage through the MarketplaceSM. The Panel allows us to consider a broad range of views and information from interested audiences in connection with this effort and to identify opportunities to enhance the effectiveness of education strategies concerning the Affordable Care Act.

The scope of this panel also includes advising on issues pertaining to the education of providers and stakeholders with respect to the Affordable Care Act and certain provisions of the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act enacted as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA).

On January 21, 2011, the Panel's charter was renewed and the Panel was renamed the Advisory Panel for Outreach and Education.

II. Provisions of This Notice

Pursuant to the charter approved on January 19, 2017, the APOE was renewed. The APOE will advise the Department of Health and Human Services and CMS on developing and implementing education programs that support individuals enrolled in or eligible for Medicare, Medicaid, the CHIP, coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace and other CMS programs about options for selecting health care coverage under these and other programs envisioned under health care reform to ensure improved access to quality care, including prevention services. The scope of this FACA group also includes advising on education of providers and stakeholders with respect to health care reform and certain provisions of the HITECH Act enacted as part of ARRA. The charter will terminate on January 19, 2019, unless renewed by appropriate action. The APOE was chartered under 42 U.S.C. 217a, section 222 of the Public Health Service Act, as amended. The APOE is governed by provisions of Public Law 92-463, as amended (5 U.S.C. appendix 2), which sets forth standards for the formation and use of advisory committees.

Pursuant to the renewed charter, the APOE will advise the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the CMS Administrator concerning optimal strategies for the following:

  • Developing and implementing education and outreach programs for individuals enrolled in or eligible for Medicare, Medicaid, and CHIP or health coverage available through the Health Insurance Marketplace and other CMS programs.
  • Enhancing the Federal government's effectiveness in informing the Medicare, Medicaid, CHIP or the Health Insurance Marketplace consumers, issuers, providers and stakeholders pursuant to education and outreach programs of issues regarding these programs, including the appropriate use of public-private partnerships to leverage the resources of the private sector in educating beneficiaries, providers, and stakeholders.
  • Expanding outreach to vulnerable and underserved communities, including racial and ethnic minorities, in the context of Medicare, Medicaid, CHIP, and Health Insurance Marketplace education programs and other CMS programs as designated.
  • Assembling and sharing an information base of “best practices” for helping consumers evaluate health coverage options.Start Printed Page 35532
  • Building and leveraging existing community infrastructures for information, counseling, and assistance.
  • Drawing the program link between outreach and education, promoting consumer understanding of health care coverage choices, and facilitating consumer selection/enrollment, which in turn support the overarching goal of improved access to quality care, including preventive services, envisioned under the Affordable Care Act.

The current members of the Panel are: Kellan Baker, Associate Director, Center for American Progress; Robert Blancato, President, Matz, Blancato & Associates; Dale Blasier, Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery, Department of Orthopaedics, Arkansas Children's Hospital; Deborah Britt, Executive Director of Community & Public Relations, Piedmont Fayette Hospital; Deena Chisolm, Associate Professor of Pediatrics & Public Health, The Ohio State University, Nationwide Children's Hospital; Josephine DeLeon, Director, Anti-Poverty Initiatives, Catholic Charities of California; Robert Espinoza, Vice President of Policy, Paraprofessional Healthcare Institute; Louise Scherer Knight, Director, The Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins; Roanne Osborne-Gaskin, M.D., Senior Medical Director, MDWise, Inc.; Cathy Phan, Outreach and Education Coordinator, Asian American Health Coalition DBA HOPE Clinic; Kamilah Pickett, Litigation Support, Independent Contractor; Brendan Riley, Outreach and Enrollment Coordinator, NC Community Health Center Association; Alvia Siddiqi, Medicaid Managed Care Community Network (MCCN) Medical Director, Advocate Physician Partners, Carla Smith, Executive Vice President, Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS); Tobin Van Ostern, Vice President and Co-Founder, Young Invincibles Advisors; and Paula Villescaz, Senior Consultant, Assembly Health Committee, California State Legislature.

III. Copies of the Charter

The Secretary's Charter for the APOE is available on the CMS Web site at: https://www.cms.gov/​Regulations-and-Guidance/​Guidance/​FACA/​Downloads/​APOECharter2017.pdf or you may obtain a copy of the charter by submitting a request to: Thomas Dudley, Designated Federal Official (DFO), Office of Communications, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, 7500 Security Boulevard, Mailstop S1 05-06, Baltimore, MD 21244 1850 or via email at Thomas.Dudley@cms.hhs.gov.

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Dated: July 21, 2017.

Seema Verma,

Administrator, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

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Footnotes

1.  We note that the Citizen's Advisory Panel on Medicare Education is also referred to as the Advisory Panel on Medicare Education (65 FR 4617). The name was updated in the Second Amended Charter approved on July 24, 2000.

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2.  Health Insurance MarketplaceSM. and MarketplaceSM. are service marks of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.

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[FR Doc. 2017-15960 Filed 7-28-17; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4120-01-P