42 U.S. Code § 1395b–4 - Health insurance information, counseling, and assistance grants

(a) Grants
The Secretary of Health and Human Services (in this section referred to as the “Secretary”) shall make grants to States, with approved State regulatory programs under section 1395ss of this title, that submit applications to the Secretary that meet the requirements of this section for the purpose of providing information, counseling, and assistance relating to the procurement of adequate and appropriate health insurance coverage to individuals who are eligible to receive benefits under this subchapter (in this section referred to as “eligible individuals”). The Secretary shall prescribe regulations to establish a minimum level of funding for a grant issued under this section.
(b) Grant applications
(1) In submitting an application under this section, a State may consolidate and coordinate an application that consists of parts prepared by more than one agency or department of such State.
(2) As part of an application for a grant under this section, a State shall submit a plan for a State-wide health insurance information, counseling, and assistance program. Such program shall—
(A) establish or improve upon a health insurance information, counseling, and assistance program that provides counseling and assistance to eligible individuals in need of health insurance information, including—
(i) information that may assist individuals in obtaining benefits and filing claims under this subchapter and subchapter XIX of this chapter;
(ii) policy comparison information for medicare supplemental policies (as described in section 1395ss (g)(1) of this title) and information that may assist individuals in filing claims under such medicare supplemental policies;
(iii) information regarding long-term care insurance; and
(iv) information regarding other types of health insurance benefits that the Secretary determines to be appropriate;
(B) in conjunction with the health insurance information, counseling, and assistance program described in subparagraph (A), establish a system of referral to appropriate Federal or State departments or agencies for assistance with problems related to health insurance coverage (including legal problems), as determined by the Secretary;
(C) provide for a sufficient number of staff positions (including volunteer positions) necessary to provide the services of the health insurance information, counseling, and assistance program;
(D) provide assurances that staff members (including volunteer staff members) of the health insurance information, counseling, and assistance program have no conflict of interest in providing the counseling described in subparagraph (A);
(E) provide for the collection and dissemination of timely and accurate health care information to staff members;
(F) provide for training programs for staff members (including volunteer staff members);
(G) provide for the coordination of the exchange of health insurance information between the staff of departments and agencies of the State government and the staff of the health insurance information, counseling, and assistance program;
(H) make recommendations concerning consumer issues and complaints related to the provision of health care to agencies and departments of the State government and the Federal Government responsible for providing or regulating health insurance;
(I) establish an outreach program to provide the health insurance information and counseling described in subparagraph (A) and the referrals described in subparagraph (B) to eligible individuals; and
(J) demonstrate, to the satisfaction of the Secretary, an ability to provide the counseling and assistance required under this section.
(c) Special grants
(1) A State that is conducting a health insurance information, counseling, and assistance program that is substantially similar to a program described in subsection (b)(2) of this section shall, as a requirement for eligibility for a grant under this section, demonstrate, to the satisfaction of the Secretary, that such State shall maintain the activities of such program at least at the level that such activities were conducted immediately preceding the date of the issuance of any grant during the period of time covered by such grant under this section.
(2) If the Secretary determines that the existing health insurance information, counseling, and assistance program is substantially similar to a program described in subsection (b)(2) of this section, the Secretary may waive some or all of the requirements described in such subsection and issue a grant to the State for the purpose of increasing the number of services offered by the health insurance information, counseling, and assistance program, experimenting with new methods of outreach in conducting such program, or expanding such program to geographic areas of the State not previously served by the program.
(d) Criteria for issuing grants
In issuing a grant under this section, the Secretary shall consider—
(1) the commitment of the State to carrying out the health insurance information, counseling, and assistance program described in subsection (b)(2) of this section, including the level of cooperation demonstrated—
(A) by the office of the chief insurance regulator of the State, or the equivalent State entity;
(B) other officials of the State responsible for overseeing insurance plans issued by nonprofit hospital and medical service associations; and
(C) departments and agencies of such State responsible for—
(i) administering funds under subchapter XIX of this chapter, and
(ii) administering funds appropriated under the Older Americans Act [42 U.S.C. 3001 et seq.];
(2) the population of eligible individuals in such State as a percentage of the population of such State; and
(3) in order to ensure the needs of rural areas in such State, the relative costs and special problems associated with addressing the special problems of providing health care information, counseling, and assistance eligible  [1] individuals residing in rural areas of such State.
(e) Annual State report
A State that receives a grant under this section shall, not later than 180 days after receiving such grant, and annually thereafter during the period of the grant, issue a report to the Secretary that includes information concerning—
(1) the number of individuals served by the health insurance information, counseling and assistance program of such State;
(2) an estimate of the amount of funds saved by the State, and by eligible individuals in the State, in the implementation of such program; and
(3) the problems that eligible individuals in such State encounter in procuring adequate and appropriate health care coverage.
(f) Report to Congress
Beginning with 1992, and annually thereafter, the Secretary shall issue a report to the Committee on Finance of the Senate, the Special Committee on Aging of the Senate, the Committee on Ways and Means of the House of Representatives, and the Committee on Energy and Commerce of the House of Representatives that—
(1) summarizes the allocation of funds authorized for grants under this section and the expenditure of such funds;
(2) outlines the problems that eligible individuals encounter in procuring adequate and appropriate health care coverage;
(3) makes recommendations that the Secretary determines to be appropriate to address the problems described in paragraph (3);  [2] and
(4) in the case of the report issued 2 years after November 5, 1990, evaluates the effectiveness of counseling programs established under this program, and makes recommendations regarding continued authorization of funds for these purposes.
(g) Authorization of appropriations for grants
There are authorized to be appropriated, in equal parts from the Federal Hospital Insurance Trust Fund and from the Federal Supplementary Medical Insurance Trust Fund, $10,000,000 for each of fiscal years 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, and 1996, to fund the grant programs described in this section.


[1]  So in original. Probably should be preceded by “to”.

[2]  So in original. Probably should be paragraph “(2)”.

Source

(Pub. L. 101–508, title IV, § 4360,Nov. 5, 1990, 104 Stat. 1388–138; Pub. L. 103–432, title I, § 171(i),Oct. 31, 1994, 108 Stat. 4450; Pub. L. 103–437, § 15(b),Nov. 2, 1994, 108 Stat. 4591; Pub. L. 105–362, title VI, § 602(b)(2),Nov. 10, 1998, 112 Stat. 3286.)
References in Text

The Older Americans Act, referred to in subsec. (d)(1)(C)(ii), probably means the Older Americans Act of 1965, which is Pub. L. 89–73, July 14, 1965, 79 Stat. 218, as amended, and is classified generally to chapter 35 (§ 3001 et seq.) of this title. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see Short Title note set out under section 3001 of this title and Tables.
Codification

Section was enacted as part of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1990, and not as part of the Social Security Act which comprises this chapter.
Amendments

1998—Subsec. (f). Pub. L. 105–362substituted “Beginning with 1992” for “Not later than 180 days after November 5, 1990”.
1994—Subsec. (b)(2)(A)(ii). Pub. L. 103–432, § 171(i)(1), inserted closing parenthesis after “of this title”.
Subsec. (b)(2)(D). Pub. L. 103–432, § 171(i)(2), substituted “counseling” for “services” before “described in subparagraph (A)”.
Subsec. (b)(2)(I). Pub. L. 103–432, § 171(i)(3), substituted “referrals” for “assistance”.
Subsec. (c)(1). Pub. L. 103–432, § 171(i)(4), struck out “and that such activities will continue to be maintained at such level” after “covered by such grant under this section”.
Subsec. (d)(3). Pub. L. 103–432, § 171(i)(5), substituted “eligible individuals residing in rural areas” for “to the rural areas”.
Subsec. (e). Pub. L. 103–432, § 171(i)(6)(A), (B), in introductory provisions, substituted “this section” for “subsection (c) or (d) of this section” and “and annually thereafter during the period of the grant, issue a report” for “and annually thereafter, issue an annual report”.
Subsec. (e)(1). Pub. L. 103–432, § 171(i)(6)(C), struck out “State-wide” before “health insurance information”.
Subsec. (f). Pub. L. 103–437, § 15(b)(1), in introductory provisions, substituted “and the Committee on Energy and Commerce” for “the Committee on Energy and Commerce of the House of Representatives, and the Select Committee on Aging”.
Pub. L. 103–432, § 171(i)(8)(B), andPub. L. 103–437, § 15(b)(2), made identical amendments, redesignating subsec. (f), relating to authorization of appropriations for grants, as (g).
Pub. L. 103–432, § 171(i)(8)(A), in subsec. (f), relating to authorization of appropriations for grants, substituted “1993, 1994, 1995, and 1996” for “and 1993”.
Subsec. (f)(2) to (5). Pub. L. 103–432, § 171(i)(7), in subsec. (f), relating to report to Congress, redesignated pars. (3) to (5) as (2) to (4), respectively, and struck out former par. (2) which read as follows: “summarizes the scope and content of training conferences convened under this section;”.
Subsec. (g). Pub. L. 103–432, § 171(i)(8)(B), andPub. L. 103–437, § 15(b)(2), made identical amendments, redesignating subsec. (f), relating to authorization of appropriations for grants, as (g).
Change of Name

Committee on Energy and Commerce of House of Representatives treated as referring to Committee on Commerce of House of Representatives by section 1(a) ofPub. L. 104–14, set out as a note preceding section 21 of Title 2, The Congress. Committee on Commerce of House of Representatives changed to Committee on Energy and Commerce of House of Representatives, and jurisdiction over matters relating to securities and exchanges and insurance generally transferred to Committee on Financial Services of House of Representatives by House Resolution No. 5, One Hundred Seventh Congress, Jan. 3, 2001.
Effective Date of 1994 Amendment

Amendment by Pub. L. 103–432effective as if included in the enactment of Pub. L. 101–508, see section 171(l) ofPub. L. 103–432, set out as a note under section 1395ss of this title.
Demonstration To Improve Care to Previously Uninsured

Pub. L. 110–275, title I, § 186,July 15, 2008, 122 Stat. 2588, provided that:
“(a) Establishment.—Within one year after the date of the enactment of this Act [July 15, 2008], the Secretary (in this section referred to as the ‘Secretary’) shall establish a demonstration project to determine the greatest needs and most effective methods of outreach to medicare beneficiaries who were previously uninsured.
“(b) Scope.—The demonstration shall be in no fewer than 10 sites, and shall include state health insurance assistance programs, community health centers, community-based organizations, community health workers, and other service providers under parts A, B, and C of title XVIII of the Social Security Act [42 U.S.C. 1395c et seq., 1395j et seq., 1395w–21 et seq.]. Grantees that are plans operating under part C shall document that enrollees who were previously uninsured receive the ‘Welcome to Medicare’ physical exam.
“(c) Duration.—The Secretary shall conduct the demonstration project for a period of 2 years.
“(d) Report and Evaluation.—The Secretary shall conduct an evaluation of the demonstration and not later than 1 year after the completion of the project shall submit to Congress a report including the following:
“(1) An analysis of the effectiveness of outreach activities targeting beneficiaries who were previously uninsured, such as revising outreach and enrollment materials (including the potential for use of video information), providing one-on-one counseling, working with community health workers, and amending the Medicare and You handbook.
“(2) The effect of such outreach on beneficiary access to care, utilization of services, efficiency and cost-effectiveness of health care delivery, patient satisfaction, and select health outcomes.”
State Regulatory Programs

For provisions relating to changes required to conform State regulatory programs to amendments by section 171 ofPub. L. 103–432, see section 171(m) ofPub. L. 103–432, set out as a note under section 1395ss of this title.

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