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Ensuring That Consumers Get Value for Their Dollars

Grant Solicitation Q&As

Q1:  What application forms should be used (e.g. the 424 family of forms)?

A1:  As outlined on page 9, required forms include: the Application for Federal Assistance (SF-424); Budget Information Non-Construction (SF-424A); Assurances – Non-Construction Programs (SF-424B); Disclosure of Lobbying Activities (SF-LLL); Additional Assurance Certifications; and the List of Key Contacts.

Q2:  If the recipient is unable to successfully submit an application through Grants.gov due to recipient IT constraints will a hard copy of the application be accepted?

A2:  We ask that all applicants utilize the grants.gov process to the extent possible.  Applicants that are having technical issues with grants.gov must contact support@grants.gov or call 1 800 518 4726 to access 24 hour assistance.  Please retain the provided case number.  We ask that all applicants begin the grants.gov process immediately to avoid last minute technical issues.  If technical issues persist after contacting grants.gov, please also contact Jacqueline Roche at Jacqueline.Roche@hhs.gov and Gladys Bohler at Gladys.Bohler@hhs.gov.

Q3:  How long do States have to spend Cycle 1 grant funds?

A3:  States have from August 9, 2010 through FFY 2011 (September 30, 2011) to utilize Cycle 1 grant funds (pgs. 5, 6).

Q4:  Why does the Governor need to submit a letter of endorsement?

A4:  We are working closely with the States to implement the Affordable Care Act.  We require that the Governor endorse the grant application and the proposed health insurance premium review activities or enhancements to ensure close coordination with all State-based agencies that are involved in insurance oversight and other aspects of the Affordable Care Act implementation in the State (pgs. 7, 10, 18).

Q5:  My State reviews filings on an informational basis only.  Is my state eligible?

A5:  Yes.  HHS will provide this grant funding to augment and enhance states’ current processes and to provide funding for future enhancements (pgs. 4, 5).

Q6:  How will the Maintenance of Effort (MOE) be certified?  Would a statement in the application be sufficient?

A6:  A statement in the application is sufficient to satisfy the MOE requirement.

Q7: What are the necessary qualifications to serve as the Principal Investigator/Project Director on Cycle I grants?

A7:  HHS understands the variation among States regarding how they organize insurance departments.  The Project Director should be the Associate Commissioner (or equivalent) of the health bureau (or division) or the Commissioner.  

Q8:  To whom should we address the letter of support from the Governor to? 

A8:  The letter of support can be addressed to:

The Honorable Kathleen Sebelius
Secretary, Department of Health & Human Services
200 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20201

This letter should be included as part of the application package submitted on grants.gov and should not be submitted separately.

Q9:  Can a state submit an application if the budgeted cost is in excess of $1 million, as long as they do not seek more than $1 million for the grant award?

A9:  The submitted budget must be for no more than $1 million.  States are permitted to discuss proposed activities that are budgeted for more than $1 million as long as the proposed budget does not exceed $1 million.  Grant funded activities must be outlined clearly in the budget and work plan for grant reporting and monitoring purposes. 

Q10. If my state believes that it will not be able to spend $1 million during the period of the first grant cycle, is it precluded from applying for a grant?

A10. No.  A state is not obligated to submit a budget that totals $1 million in order to receive a grant.  It can submit a budget for a lesser amount if it believes that it will only be able to spend that amount.  In this situation, assuming all other conditions for a grant are met, the state would receive a $1 million grant with the award being conditioned on the State’s agreement to roll excess funds into the following cycle and to return any funds that are unobligated by the end of FY 2014. 

Q11:  If my state is not able to expend $1 million dollars in the allotted budget period are we eligible for a no-cost extension to extend the project period for Cycle I independently of applying for grants in a subsequent cycle?

A11. Yes, requests for no cost extensions at the end of the project period will be considered for States as justified for Cycle I grants.  States are also permitted to roll grants funds forward to subsequent grant cycles; however the use of funding must be in compliance with the terms in conditions dictating the subsequent grant cycle. 

Q12:  Is a state required to make recommendations that a plan not be able to participate in an exchange before 2014?

A12:  Cycle 1 Grants do not require this recommendation.

Q13:  Will there be a template for state submission of data and will states be able to assist in the development of that template?

A13:  There will be a data template provided for the submission of data as outlined in the Special Terms and Conditions of the award.  The Office of Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight (OCIIO) will provide technical assistance and collaborate with States on all data reporting requirements under the grant.

Q14: How do I tell if my state has an EBIZ/ account?

A14: The Central Contractor Registration (CCR) database can be searched to determine if the recipient is registered.  Registration in CCR is required before an organization can register in Grants.gov When an Authorized Organization Representative (AOR) registers with Grants.gov; the EBIZ Point of contact (POC) will receive an email notification. (pg 8)

Q15: On page 20 of the FOA, language is included that indicates that all grant budgets must include some funding to facilitate participation on the part of individuals who have a disability or long-term illness and their families, is this requirement meant to apply?

A15: Applicants will not be penalized if this requirement as outlined in the FOA is not addressed. 

Q16: Can States collaborate on the development of Data Centers?

A16:  Collaboration among States is allowed for Cycle 1 grants.  If States anticipate establishing arrangements with other State partners, the consortium activity should be reflected in the grant applications when submitted.

Q17: Will the States be required to continue reporting to the Secretary if funding is not continued for this program?

A17: Reporting obligations are for the grant period established in the Notice of Grant Award for the Cycle I Premium Review Grant.  Additional federal regulations will be issued later in FFY 2010 regarding the annual process for rate review.

Q18: Can the work plan be submitted as an attachment?

A18: Yes, the work plan can be submitted as part of the appendix materials

Q19: Can a State send their rating law methodology as an attachment?

A19: Yes, we encourage the submission of as much information as necessary to understand the current rate review process.  Detailed methodologies can be submitted as part of appendix materials.

Q20: Do attachments count against the 15 page limit?

A20: Attachments do not count against the 15 page limit (p 9).