“Community Catalyst today celebrates the announcement of Consumer Assistance Program (CAP) grants from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to states and their local nonprofit partners.

“As a national organization, Community Catalyst works with consumer advocates in over 40 states, and bringing resources to groups is critical to our mission. Over 15 years ago, we began working with Senator Ted Kennedy to bring consumer assistance resources to the states. It’s exciting to see many years of hard work finally come to fruition.

 “We want to acknowledge the significance of the federal investment in this kind of health service to individuals and their families. Just as many important health insurance changes and consumer protections are already being implemented, these programs will be in place to help those who have questions about choosing health insurance or accessing their health benefits.

“We are especially pleased to note many of the consumer assistance program grants were awarded to states in partnership with local non-profit, mission driven organizations. In particular, the grant recipients envision contracting with many of our partners like Health Care For All and Health Law Advocates in Massachusetts and UHCAN Ohio to help consumers connect with the health care they need. Non-profit consumer health organizations are trusted resources in their communities and often serve as the ‘go-to’ source for individuals and families who might not otherwise seek assistance with health care questions.

“Consumer assistance programs are critical to successful implementation of the new law, and help by providing one-on-one assistance to educate individuals about their health care options, to facilitate enrollment, to maintain coverage, and to troubleshoot problems that may arise. Through interactions with consumers, these programs also capture valuable, early information about implementation successes and problems that can be shared with policymakers and state agencies.

“Many consumer advocacy organizations are already helping people gain health coverage, access services, and navigate the health care system – and they are poised to take on the challenge of establishing or strengthening consumer assistance programs in their state to ensure successful implementation of the Affordable Care Act. We look forward to our continued work with state-based consumer health organizations to assist them in these efforts.”

Altogether, 35 States, four territories and the District of Columbia applied for and will receive grant awards. A summary of how each State or territory will use the new resources can be found at http://www.healthcare.gov/news/factsheets/CAPGrants.html

About Community Catalyst
Community Catalyst is a national non-profit advocacy organization dedicated to quality affordable health care for all.  Since 1997, Community Catalyst has been working to build the consumer and community leadership required to transform the American health system.  With the belief that this transformation will happen when consumers are fully engaged and have an organized voice, Community Catalyst works in partnership with national, state and local consumer organizations, policymakers, and foundations, providing leadership and support to change the health care system so it serves everyone – especially vulnerable members of society.  For more information, visit www.communitycatalyst.org.