Certified Application Counselor Designated Organization Application – September 2019


>>Good afternoon, and welcome to the
Certified Application Counselor Designated Organization Webinar. At this time, all participants
are in the listen only mode. Later we will conduct a question-and-answer
session and instructions will be given at that time. Should anyone require assistance
during the conference, press star then zero on your
on the touchtone phone. As a reminder, this conference
is being recorded. I would now like to turn the call over to
Julie Cahoon with Kauffman and Associates. You may begin.>>Thank you. Hi everyone. My name is Julie Cahoon and I
am with Kauffman and Associates. I will be the moderator for today’s webinar. Before we start with the presentation, I would
like to review feature of the webinar interface for those who are logged in via Adobe Connect. You should all see the first line of the
[Inaudible] presentation in the middle of the screen, and a Q&A pod open
to the bottom right of the screen. We will be answering questions
after the presentation, but you can enter a question
at any time into the Q&A pod. And as noted, for those connecting over the
telephone only, please hold your questions until the question-and-answer session. As stated, please note that all [inaudible] and if you need technical assistance during the
webinar, please type the issue into the Q&A pod and our tech support staff
will respond to you directly. If you have a technical issue a technical
issue while dialed in over the phone line, the operator will be able to assist you. I will now turn it over to Kitty Marx, Director
of the CMSDS Division of Tribal Affairs. Kitty?>>Thank you, Julie, and
welcome to today’s webinar where we will be discussing the Certified
Application Counselor Designated Organization. That’s a mouthful, but we have lots
of information to share with you today and we appreciate all that
you attending today’s call. Without further ado, why don’t I go ahead
and turn the call over to my colleagues from the Center for Consumer
Information and Insurance Oversight. Sarah Barber and Melissa McLaine are on the
call today to provide you with information and answer any questions that you might have. So at this time, Sarah, do you
want to go ahead and get started? Thank you.>>Thank you, Kitty. Good afternoon everyone. Thank you for joining us today. Welcome to the Certified Application Counselor
Designated Organization Application Webinar. As Kitty said, that’s a mouthful. We’re going to shorten it down
to the CDO Application Webinar, so it will be a little easier for
me to get through these slides. Again, my name is Sarah Barber
and I work for the Division of [inaudible] Program here in [Inaudible]. Today, I am joined by my colleague, Missy. MacLaine, who has worked on the CDO application
process for years, and she will be helping me with any questions that you have,
particularly any technical questions. So Missy, can you advance
to the next slide please? So today, during our webinar, we’re
going to discuss what it means to be a Certified Application Counselor
Designated Organization, or CDO. We’ll talk about the process of becoming a CDO. We’ll talk about the information that you
need to provide in the CDO application. And then we’ll walk you through
each step of that process. As was mentioned earlier, we will be happy to answer any questions you may
have at the end of the presentation. I want to pause for just a moment and let
folks know if you are on the phone only and are not seeing the slides, you should have
received the Save the Date, and you will notice at the bottom of the Save to Date not
only is there the CDO application link which we will provide, again,
later on in this presentation. There is a link to CDO application technical
assistance and that will have a very similar set of slides on that link as
well as a recorded webinar that will walk you through
the application process. So I just want to let folks know,
since they are on the phone, there are posted resources available
for you, and actually available for anyone who’s interested
on the Save the Date webinar under the technical assistance
for CDO application. Okay, so why don’t we go
ahead to the next slide. So today, I’m going to provide you
with information for organizations who are considering becoming a CDO. While anyone from an organization can
complete and submit the CDO application, we do require that each organization provide us with at least two distinct
contacts to fulfill specific roles. So these roles are the organization’s senior
official and the CAC project director. Organizations may add another contact, referred to as a secondary
contact, but that is not required. Only the organization’s senior
official may find the CMFCDO agreement, and we will provide further
guidance on these roles and their responsibilities a little
later on in this presentation. So let’s get started on talking a
little bit about how you become a CDO. Next slide. So before I walk you through the CDO application
process, we’re going to discuss what it means to be a CDO, what the rules are, what the
responsibilities and expectations are, both before and during and
after the application process. Next slide. So what is a Certified Application
Counselor Designated Organization or CDO? CDOs are quite simply organizations or
entities that meet certain eligibility criteria and are formally designated by the Centers
for Medicare and Medicaid Services, otherwise known as CMS to serve as a CDO. Participation in the CDO program is voluntary. By completing the online application,
you are requesting to become a CDO so that you can provide these services and take
on the responsibility of certifying your staff to serve as Certified Application Counselors. There is a link at the bottom of your screen. If you want to find that a little bit more
about the CDO program, you can click on that. When I say CDO, I’m referring to the
Certified Designated Organization that then certifies the Certified Application
Counselors, otherwise known as CACs. I know it gets a little confusing
with the acronyms. So CDO refers to the actual organization,
and CACs are the application assistors who help consumers enroll
in marketplace coverage. CDOs have the responsibility
for certifying the CACs. Next slide. So now that we’ve talked a little bit about
what a CDO is, we can discuss what it means to be a CDO and how CMS supports CDOs. I’m going to go through some
of the regulatory provisions so you’ll understand a little bit
about what the requirements are. So under 45CFR section 155.225, CDOs
are responsible for certifying the staff or volunteers as Certified Application
Counselors, otherwise known as CACs, to provide information to consumers and to
help facilitate consumer enrollment in QHPs and insurance affordability
programs, such as Medicaid and the Children’s Health
Program, otherwise known as CHP. And under 45CFR section 155.225D7, a CDO
may certify staff members and volunteers to be CACs only if the staff members or volunteers recertify on
at least an annual basis. The recertify means that they take
training that CMS provides on a web portal. You come in and get your training. That what it means to do that. They get their training and then
they are recertified every year. For more information about CAC responsibilities, you can visit the link at
the bottom of the screen. And for more information
about 45CFR section 155.225, you can visit the second link
at the bottom of the screen. So your organization can publish
your CAC listings on Find Local Help so consumers can locate your
organization while searching for enrollment assistance,
but this is not required. Find Local Help is a tool that CMS
provides for folks who are interested in locating an assister to help them. Some organizations do not wish
to publicize their location and services to the wider community. So therefore, you are not required to list
are service locations on Find Local Help. You can choose to focus on
a section of your community that you wish to assist within enrollment. At the CDO, organizations receive support from
CMS, such as important assister information and updates via webinars and newsletters. We also provide channel support to the CAC
questions inbox as well as technical support for consumer assistance through
the marketplace call center. We ask all organizations who are
interested in applying to become CDOs that you add the CAC questions at
CMS.HHS.gov to your trusted email to ensure that you receive our email and all of our notifications during the
application process, and then thereafter. We have had some folks have trouble with
this email going into their spam folder. So again, if you have questions
about applying to the CDO program, we welcome your questions
at [email protected] Just please make sure that the system
will allow our responses to [inaudible]. All right, next slide. So we are encouraging organizations to apply, to participate in the Certified
Application Counselor program. So more information about
CDO responsibilities- again, we had a link at the bottom of the screen. We do have certain requirements that
organizations meet before becoming a CDO. And those include successful
submission of the CDO application and an execution of the CMS CDO agreement. We also require that organizations
have [inaudible] in place to certify individuals to serve as CACs. And they are also required to have
a written agreement with their CACs. Organizations are expected to handle and
protect personally identifiable information and have processes in place to make
sure that PII is adequately protected. We also require that organizations
have a process in place to make sure that the CACs do not have any
prohibitive conflicts of interest. So on this note, you need to know that
if your organization receives direct or indirect consideration from a health
insurance issuer or a [inaudible] issuer, the connection with enrollment of individuals
in qualified health plans or [inaudible], you cannot become a CDO [inaudible] CAC. So what that really means is you cannot receive
payments for enrolling consumers into HP’s. Typically, that would be a commission,
but any kind of consideration. So it’s not just commissions
but it’s anything of value. You can’t be reimbursed for enrolling
someone in healthcare coverage. CMS uses the application to determine whether
an organization has everything that they need in place before approving
the organization as a CDO. So we would take information on the
application and just double check to make sure that there are no conflicts
of interest and nothing else that would hinder you from being a CDO. Okay, next slide. So we currently have open
application period for organizations who are interested in applying to become a CDO. We started our open season on
June 12, and we will continue to accept applications up
until September 16, 2019. So we are in the last 10 days
or so of accepting applications. So we are encouraging folks who
are interested to apply now. We must receive your application by
close of business on September 16. Each organization that applies and is approved
during the application period will be designated for two years. If your organization completed
the CDO refresh process last year and received a new CEO invitation
number and welcome packet, your organization does not need to reapply now. So we had what we call a refresh
process last year where we asked all of our operating CDOs to come in and reapply. The goal behind having everybody come
in and reapply was to update our info and make sure we had the best possible
contact info for all of our CDOs. This summer, the open season
is for new organizations. So if you are a new organization
interested in being a CDO, the deadline for submitting your
application is September 16. If you are a CEO who is already currently
operating, then you do not need to reapply. If you’re not sure what your status is,
please email us at [email protected] and we’ll be happy to look
up the status for you. So as I said, if you apply now and are
approved, you will be designated for two years. CDOs will need to continue to recertify
individual CACs within the organization and then show that their CACs complete the
assister certification training annually during those two years. At the end of the two year
period of the CDO agreement, organizations must reconfirm
participation in the CAC program and update their organization information
and return a new signed agreement. You do not have to reapply,
but we do ask you to come in to make sure your organization
information is up-to-date and accurate and execute a new signed CMS CDO agreement. Just a reminder, CDOs that applied them were
approved during last year’s process will need to reconfirm their participation
next year, in 2020. CDOs who reapply during this year’s open
season process will not need to come back in and update information and
reexecute an agreement until 2021. Okay, next slide please. So the slide you see now shows
the process of becoming a CDO, and it shows the first blue bubble. It shows that it begins with completing
and submitting the CDO application. What happens next is that CMS
[inaudible] the application to make sure that you meet all the criteria to become a CDO. Once you apply, you should receive an
email regarding your organization’s status within two weeks. If you do not receive a status email, please do email the CAC questions
inbox and request the status update. If you do reach out to us
to check on the status, please make sure you provide
your application ID number and the organization’s name
in your email request. Also, please remember to add
[email protected] to the test of emails to make sure that you can
receive all of our notifications. There are three possible outcomes
after submitting your application. One, CMS will approve your application. Two, CMS may request additional information on
your application in case something is missing. Or three, CMS does not accept the application. If the application is approved,
you will gain access to the organizational maintenance web forum, which is where you would
upload your CMS CDO agreement. The executed agreement is required
for CMS to complete the process and formally designate the
organization as a CDO. So essentially what we have
is a two-step process. You would go and submit your application,
then you would wait to hear from us. You would get a preliminary approval email,
and in that email, it would instruct you to go to the organizational maintenance web
forum [phonetic], where you can download and then signed the CMS CDO agreement
and then upload the executed copy. It’s a two-step process. Just getting a preliminary approval
does not mean that you are approved. You still have to execute the agreement. So once you have submitted your
agreement and you are all set, you will receive a welcome packet
which will give you your new CDO ID, and that’s when you can start operating as a
CDO and start certifying your staff as CACs. We ask that once you are approved,
that you continue to update and maintain your organization’s information
on the organizational maintenance web forum, and then again after two years
you’ll need to renew your CDO status. So if you apply and then receive for more
information, or if they send an email from CMS, you are responsible for something the request
for information to [email protected] We do want you to respond to
any requests that we have. We can’t proceed to approve
the application will continue with the application review unless
we receive a response from you, which is why it’s so important to make sure that that CAC Questions email
is able to get to your inbox. So thinks we may ask you for clarification
on additional information is another contact. Perhaps we only got one unique contact. We might ask you for your website URL. We might ask you to correct a typo or
give us a clarification about an address or other organizational information. We may also request a full
legal name and date of birth for the organization’s senior officials. Because during our review of
an organization’s application, we complete what are called exclusive checks,
which sometimes require this information. An exclusion check ensures that an individual
is permitted to participate in the CDO program. If the application is not approved by CMS,
you will receive an explanation for the denial and no further action will
be required on your part. Okay, next slide please. Okay, now we’re going to talk a little bit
about the actual sections of the CDO application and the items needed to complete
the CDO application. I’m going to go over some helpful tips so
that you can go ahead and gather information that you will need for the application. Next slide please. So here we have a list of specific information
will be before you begin the application. Please note that you have to complete
the online application in one sitting. Your entries will not be saved if you
exit the application before submitting it. Therefore, it’s important that you gather the
information before you start the application so that you can get through
it quickly and smoothly. The first piece of information we
ask for the organizational name. So this has to be consistent throughout. So please make sure you enter
the full organization name as it should appear on your agreement. We will also ask you for your federal
employment identification number, known as an SEIN, if applicable. If you don’t have one, it’s not required. If you were ever previously a CDO, we will
ask you to enter your previous CDO ID. And then we will the contact information
for up to three distinct contacts. As I mentioned before, one of those needs to be an organization’s senior
official which is required. This person must sign the CMS CDO
agreement and have the authority to legally and financially bind the organization. The next contact request will
be for a CAC project director. This is also required. This individual is responsible for maintaining
compliance with the CDO requirements and certify CAC staff and volunteers and
keeping the CAC certification records and updating the organizational
information with CMS. We will also ask for a secondary
contact, but this is optional. This is just an additional contact who
may support the CAC project director and is knowledgeable about
the program operation. And we will ask for the phone number
and email address for each contact. If you have a website, we ask that
you share your website URL with us. That’s not required. If you don’t have a website, that’s fine. We do ask for the physical of your
organization’s headquarters office. And then we ask for a list of the states and
counties where you will operate, that is, where you will be providing your
Certified Application Counselor services. We ask for a primary organization type. This could be health services,
social services, a government agency, any description that fits of your organization. And then, we ask for the
organization’s specialty. This would include tribal
or faith-based or behavioral or mental health, or some other designation. And then we will ask you to indicate for us
your intended enrollment assistance type. So what we’re asking here is whether
you will be able to serve consumers with assistance year-round, or whether you will
focus only on doing it during open enrollment. Open enrollment runs from November
1 through December 15 each year, and we have CDOs who are available to enroll
folks year-round, and we also have folks that only do it during open enrollment. If you’re a tribal organization, then
you’ll be well aware that members of federal tribes have many
opportunities to enroll. So you may well be operating year-round. All right, next slide. That sounds like a lot of information. But once you get into the
application and start filling it out, you will see that it’s actually not that bad. There are five pages in total in the
CDO application, but they are broken down into five different sections. The first is the submitter contact information. Then you will talk about your
organization contact information as well as the organization headquarters
information, the service location, and then a few additional organization details. In general, the application goes fairly quickly, and especially if you have all the needed
information available when you sit down. Okay, next slide. All right, so what happens next? The [inaudible] application depends on
whether or not CMS approves your application and whether we request that you
provide additional information, or whether the application is denied. So if the application is approved
by CMS, you will gain access to the organizational maintenance web forum, where you can upload or sign
the CMS CDO agreement. And the agreement, again, is required
for CMS to complete the process and formally designate the
organization as a CDO. So I want to just remind folks that
this is really a two-step process. The first step is submitting the application. After that, you’ll be notified that you’ve
gotten preliminary approval and you’ll be asked to go to the organizational maintenance web
forum, download the agreement, and execute it. It’s only after you have completed both
those steps, both submitting the application and executing the agreement and uploading
it, that you can be designated a CDO. Sometimes people submit applications
and think that they’re done. But we always need an executed agreement. Okay, once you have your agreement
uploaded and CMS approves it, you will receive an email
containing your official CDO ID, and then you can start operating as a CDO
and start certifying your staff as a CAC. That means that you will assign CAC IDs
to your Certified Application Counselors. We ask that you maintain your organization’s
information using the organizational maintenance web forum. That is important so that we know how to reach
you and make sure you get all communications from us, not just regarding your
application or your activities as a CDO, but also all the other information. We do webinars and we do collaboration calls
and we do hot topic webinars and we do a lot of activities, and we rely on our CDO databases
to make sure that we’re inviting everybody who might be interested to participate in
the informational sessions that we put on. So as a reminder, once you
have completed the process and you have been designated a Certified
Application Counselor organization, your application approval
will last for two years. After that, you will need
to renew your CDO status. This does not mean that you have to
reapply, but you do have to come in, update any information, and
execute an agreement again. If you submit your application and then
you receive a request for more information or request for a revision in an
email from CMS, please respond and send the requested information
to [email protected] If we need more information, the email that was
send to you will have a step-by-step process that will explain what we
need and where to send it. If you don’t respond when, we
can’t review the application. We can’t move forward. So please [inaudible] and I out for our email. If your applications is not approved by CMS, you
will receive an email with an excellent nation for the denial and no further
action will be required by you. Hopefully, that gives you an idea of
what the CDO application process is like. I’ve gone over it in some detail. The process itself typically
doesn’t take all that long. It usually takes just a couple of
weeks to process your application and double check it, make
sure everything’s good. Maybe go back to you and ask you
for some additional information. But it shouldn’t take more
than a couple of weeks to get through that process, three at the most. And then, usually it only takes a few days after that once you get your
approval to [inaudible] the agreement. If you upload it quickly, we will try to get
you your welcome packet as quickly as possible. We are cutting off accepting
applications on September 16. So that’s this month on the 16th at the
close of business; we will cut it off. And that is in part so that that gives us
enough time to process the application, make sure you’ve uploaded your agreement. Make sure the agreement is
executed, and you’ll get your ID. It also allows us on the backend to take
your CDO ID and put it into our system so we can track your application and make
sure your in the system, so to speak, in advance of opening moment, and also gives
you a little bit of time to take that CDO ID, get your CACs certified, get them
they’re training, all of that. So we try and cut it off in September so that we
will have adequate time to get everything done that we need to get done and that you
need to get done before opening moment. So next slide. Okay, so thank you for listening to me today. If you would like to apply,
the link is on the screen. And that link is
https://mats.secure.force.com/CDOapplication/. So again, that’s
https://mats.secure.force.com/CDOapplication/. So I want to remind folks, again, if you aren’t
able to see the slides and you’re on the phone, the Save the Date for today’s webinar at the bottom also has the
link for the CDO application. And it also has a hyperlink
to technical assistance, user guides, and more on how to do the CDO. There is even a walk-through video that shows
you the screen of the application and where to put your info and where to click. And if you have any questions, you are welcome
to contact us at [email protected] And that is the end of our
PowerPoint presentation today. If you have any questions, please feel free to
put them in the chat box on hour the screen. And we will also take questions on the phone if
you have questions and if you’re on the phone. So I’m going to ask if there is anyone who
submitted a question they would like to ask?>>Ladies and gentlemen, at this
time, if you have a question, please press star than 1
on your touchtone phone.>>I know sometimes I get questions
from tribal organizations in particular who ask me what are the benefits
of applying to be a CDO. And I would like to emphasize that the CAC
training is up and posted and, as always, is available to anyone who wishes to take it. One of the benefits of having tribal
organizations apply to these CDOs and being approved is that we then have a better
sense of what tribal assisters are feeling and where they are, because we’ll have
information on what state you’re in and what counties you’re providing that service. It also helps a lot of our
outreach and collaboration. We try hard to have both our navigators,
who are federally funded assisters as well as our CDOs all over the
country work with tribal members, both American Indians and Alaska natives. And we find that folks who have been doing this
work for a while who are tribal organizations who are part of the community
really are the experts and they really know what they’re
doing and how to get people enrolled. As we are well aware, Native Americans and Alaska natives have some special
position, so it helps us, quite frankly. The more tribal organizations or folks
that are working with tribal people who are in the CDO program, it means we can rely
on them and pull on them to provide us with needed support and information and help as
well as making sure that they are included all of our outreach, all of our collaboration. We, I think, made some really
good strides lately. Particularly this year, we’ve been working
really hard to bring our navigators together with our CDOs and CACs to [inaudible] best
practices, to collaborate, to help each other with enrollment events, to educate each
other and then specific populations that they serve, tricks of the trade. It also helps us a lot, as we have contact with
our CDOs, our CACs, and our navigators to find out things that are happening on the ground. While we do our best to make sure things
function smoothly in the marketplace, there are consumers that have
issues, that have problems. While the marketplace call center is a
wonderful resource and they do a lot of work to help consumers make sure they understand
everything, sometimes people get stuck. And we’d like to hear from our assisters
about any problems that they’re having. I often find that our assisters
[inaudible] canaries in the coal mine, and they will let us know about
technical glitches or other issues that we might not otherwise be aware of
without our assisters highlighting them for us. So we actually rely pretty heavily on our
assisters and communications from our assisters to know what’s going on and
frankly to find out how we can help. With that as one of the benefits, I feel like
if folks are in the CDO program, who you are, where you are, and we are better able to
communicate, both to help you but also to learn from organizations to do a lot
of really great work out there. Is anyone who has a question on the phone?>>I have no questions from
the phone line at this time.>>All right. Well, I’m happy to take any
questions if you do have one. Please don’t hesitate to ask a question. I will just mention that, while I
have talked about navigators and CDOs, they are very distinct assistive programs. Navigators are federally funded. They apply for, and once approved,
they are awarded federal funding to conduct their enrollment activities. CDOs are not federally funded. So that’s something that I think is
important for people to understand, that CDOs do not receive federal
funding, but they do have access to, as I mentioned before, the
newsletter, the webinar. If you are a CDO and you are in our system,
we make sure that we have your information and that you receive all of our email,
including policy updates that are contained in the newsletter, our [inaudible] webinars,
our collaboration calls, our hot topic webinars. All the activities that we try and do to
make sure that folks know what’s going on, what’s up coming, especially as
they get towards open enrollment, making sure that our assisters
have all the information they need to help consumers get enrolled. So I would just mention that
that’s the main distinction. Really, the training is almost
the same, but as I said, navigators do receive federal
funding, whereas CDOs do not. Missy, I’m going to ask if there’s anything
you want to add to this, since I know you are so well-versed in the CDO program. Can you think of any other reminders
that people should be aware?>>No, Sarah. You covered it very well.>>Okay, great. Well, I’m not seeing many questions. I’ll do one last call for
questions on the phone. And if there aren’t any, Kitty,
I’ll just hand it back over to you. Thank you very much for this opportunity
to let folks know about the CDO program.>>Okay, thank you, Sarah, and thank
you, Missy, for being on the call. And as Sarah mentioned, the
Save the Date webinar notice that without has some really important links. As Sarah noted, there are technical
assistance webinars and the links are there. If after the webinar, and you
are looking at the application and you have question, you can contact. [Inaudible] answers to those
questions, and that email address is on the Save the Date webinar as well. Sometimes after webinars and after reviewing
the application, you might have questions. So please feel free to reach out to [Inaudible] with any additional questions you might
have after you review the materials. So if there are no other questions on the line,
or I don’t see any in the chat box, again, I want to thank Sarah and Missy for
presenting this information today. It was very interesting. And we encourage those on the phone
to consider submitting an application, and remember the deadline is September 16. So with that, I think we’ll go
ahead and conclude today’s webinar. Thank you again for participating
and have a good rest of your day.

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