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2018-2019 Assister Program Request for Applications Q&A

Wednesday, June 13, 2018


  1. The RFA specifies that Indirect Cost Rate is “not to exceed 20% or federal NICRA rate,” and that applicants are required to use the federal NICRA rate if available. If an organization that is a current Assister Program grantee has a NICRA rate that is higher than 20%, even though it has not exceeded this percentage in the past, can the higher rate be used in its application’s budget proposal?

    Under the HBX Assister Program, the maximum Indirect Charge Rate that an organization may charge is 20% regardless of whether it has a higher federal NICRA rate.
  2. The RFA states that the total amount available to all grantees for this award period is up to $650,000, and that grant funds will be available for no more than 10 competitive grant awards. Is DC HBX intending on distributing the awards evenly ($65,000 per organization) or will the award amount vary?

    HBX will not necessarily make 10 awards nor will it necessarily provide awardees the same level of funding. Each organization should submit a budget proposal showing clearly how the requested grant funds would be essential to, and specifically used for, meeting stated goals.

  3. Will there be any informational sessions or webinars on this year’s applications for DC HBX?


  4. Can you confirm that the RFA’s Proposal Targets section asks applicants to estimate the “cost per number of individuals and business” by dividing the proposed budget by the number of individuals and businesses projected to be contacted and not projected to be enrolled?

    Yes, proposed targets should be based on projected individual and business contacts. While it is our goal that every uninsured community member that Assisters engage ultimately enrolls in coverage, we understand that it may be difficult for organizations to project how many individuals and businesses contacted will lead to actual enrollment. Mandatory data reporting throughout the award period will provide HBX insight not only into the number of individuals contacted but also into their stage of engagement.

  5. Are all Assister Organizations expected to contact small businesses?

    No. While the HBX Assister Program, as a whole, will serve the small business community, contacting small businesses is not required of all Assister organizations. Generally speaking, successful applicants will demonstrate how they will play to their own strengths. It will be the responsibility of the application review panel to ensure that all together awardees cover the target populations, including small businesses, outlined in the RFA.

  6. Do you have a preferred format for the high-level work plan that is required as part of the application?

    While there is no required format, ideally work plans will outline how goals and underlying objectives will be met by proposed tasks/activities, timeframes, responsible parties, and specific deliverables or outcomes. Here is a Work Plan Template you may considering using.

  7. Can an organization that is currently serving as an HBX Certified Application Counselor apply for Assister Program funds?

    Yes. Any organization that meets the eligibility standards outlined in the RFA, including a current HBX Certified Application Counselor, is welcome to submit an application. Whether a current CAC is awarded Assister funds or not has no bearing on their standing as a CAC with the exchange.

  8. Will awarded grant monies align strictly with the proposed budgetary funds requested on the Assister application, or will dollars assigned be based on other contributing factors? If so, what are they?

    While the grant amounts requested by applicants will align closely with budget proposals, HBX may decide to award amounts that differ from candidates’ budget proposals. This decision lies solely at the discretion of HBX and is based upon the availability of funding, among other factors.

  9. Is this an annual grant? Will it be offered next year as well?

    The grants awarded as part of this RFA will cover the time period from October 1, 2018 to September 30, 2019. Additional grant option years beyond 2019 may be available, with funding amounts to be determined on an annual basis. Option years would be limited to those awarded grants as part of this current RFA.

  10. If an organization specializes in locating the hard-to-reach populations that are described in the RFA’s Assister Program Target Population section, can they be eligible for an award as a sub-grantee?

    Awards will be made to organizations that present comprehensive strategies that not only lay out how they will identify hard-to-reach populations, but also how they will engage them effectively. Applicants who anticipate outsourcing any aspect of their operations should provide a full explanation of how working with a particular sub-grantee would be mission-critical and exactly what role the sub-grantee will play in their operations.

  11. Will the target population include individuals for whom HBX already has contact information on file? If so, will this contact information be available to grantees?

    HBX expects organizations interested in serving as Assisters to submit proposals outlining their ideas and plans on how to expand HBX’s reach to individuals on their options for quality, affordable health insurance.

  12. How many Assister grants have been awarded to businesses outside of DC?

    Since the HBX Assister Program was inaugurated in 2013, all grantees and sub-grantees have been organizations based in the District of Columbia.

  13. Can you elaborate on the role of the Assister Advisory Committee?

    The Assister Advisory Committee is convened by HBX’s Communications and Outreach team every Open Enrollment Period. It is a forum where Assisters exchange ideas and best practices, and receive guidance from HBX leadership on how to maximize engagement during the busiest months of the award period. However many Assister organizations ultimately receive awards, the Assister Advisory Committee ensures that everyone is working as a single team to meet the program’s mission and goals