HHS – Rural Outreach Benefits Counseling Program (2015)

APPLICATIONS DUE: March 30, 2015, 11:59 p.m., Eastern Time


The Benefits Counseling Program is a community-based pilot program targeted to improve outreach and service delivery in local and regional rural communities. The purpose of the three-year Benefits Counseling Program is to expand outreach, education and enrollment efforts to eligible uninsured individuals and families, and newly insured individuals and families in rural communities. For the purposes of this grant program, benefits counseling (outreach, education and enrollment efforts) will be limited to only public health insurance (Medicare, Medicaid and/or Children’s Health Insurance Program), qualified health plans offered through Health Insurance Marketplace and/or private health insurance plans.

The overarching goals of this grant funding are to coordinate and conduct innovative outreach activities through a strong consortium in order to:

1) Identify and enroll uninsured individuals and families who are eligible for: public health insurance such as Medicare, Medicaid, and Children’s Health Insurance Program, qualified health plans offered through Health Insurance Marketplaces and/or private health insurance plans in rural communities; and

2) Educate the newly insured individuals in rural communities about their health insurance benefits, help connect them to primary care and preventive services to which they now have access, and help them retain their health insurance coverage.

Funding Title: Rural Outreach Counseling Benefits Program

Agency Name: HHS, Health Resources and Services Administration

Funding Instrument Type:  Grant

Express Language for Legal Aid: No. However benefits counseling is specifically funded.

Target Population: Uninsured individuals and families, and newly insured individuals and families in rural communities.

Expected Number of Awards: 10

Cost Sharing or Matching Requirement:  None

How to Apply: Applicant organizations must obtain a valid DUNS number and provide that number in their application. Applicant must also register with the System for Award Management (SAM) and continue to maintain active SAM registration with current information at all times during which it has an active Federal award or an application or plan under consideration by an agency (unless the applicant is an individual or Federal agency that is exempted from those requirements under 2 CFR 25.110(b) or (c), or has an exception approved by the agency under 2 CFR 25.110(d)).

HRSA may not make an award to an applicant until the applicant has complied with all applicable DUNS and SAM requirements and, if an applicant has not fully complied with the requirements by the time HRSA is ready to make an award, HRSA may determine that the applicant is not qualified to receive an award and use that determination as the basis for making an award to another applicant.

If an applicant/awardee organization has already completed Grants.gov registration for HRSA or another Federal agency, confirm that it is still active and that the Authorized Organization Representative (AOR) has been approved.

The Grants.gov registration process requires information in three separate systems:

For further details, see Section 3.1 of HRSA’s SF-424 Application Guide.

HRSA requires applicants for this funding opportunity announcement to apply electronically through Grants.gov. Applicants must download the SF-424 application package associated with this funding opportunity following the directions provided at Grants.gov.

Section 4 of HRSA’s SF-424 Application Guide provides instructions for the budget, budget justification, staffing plan and personnel requirements, assurances, certifications, and abstract. You must submit the information outlined in the Application Guide in addition to the program specific information below. All applicants are responsible for reading and complying with the instructions included in HRSA’s SF-424 Application Guide except where instructed in the funding opportunity announcement to do otherwise.

Current Closing Date for Applications: March 30 2015, 11:59 p.m., Eastern Time

Estimated Total Program Funding:    $750,000 per year

Award Ceiling: $75,000

Eligible Applicants: 

Located in a rural county or eligible rural census tract; and;

Rural public and rural non-profit private entities including faith-based and community organizations, and tribal governments and organizations; and;

In a consortium with at least two additional organizations. These two other organizations can be rural, urban, non-profit or for-profit.

The law provides that a funding preference be granted to any qualified applicant organization that specifically requests the preference and meets the criteria for the preference as follows:Priority Consideration:  

Qualification 1: Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA)

An applicant can request this funding preference if the service area of the applicant is located in an officially designated health professional shortage area (HPSA). Applicants should include a screenshot or printout from the HRSA Shortage Designation website which indicates if a particular address is located in a HPSA: http://datawarehouse.hrsa.gov/GeoAdvisor/ShortageDesignationAdvisor.aspx.

Qualification 2: Medically Underserved Community/Populations (MUC/MUPs)

An applicant can request this funding preference if the applicant is located in a medically underserved community (MUC) or serves medically underserved populations (MUPs). Applicants should include a screenshot or printout from the HRSA Shortage Designation website which indicates if a particular address is located in a MUC or serves an MUP: http://datawarehouse.hrsa.gov/GeoAdvisor/ShortageDesignationAdvisor.aspx.

Qualification 3: Focus on primary care and wellness and prevention strategies.

An applicant can request this funding preference if their project focuses on primary care and wellness, and prevention strategies. This focus must be evident throughout the project narrative.

Policy and Regulations on Use of Funds:     

Effective December 26, 2014, all administrative and audit requirements and the cost principles that govern Federal monies associated with this award are superseded by the Uniform Guidance 2 CFR 200 as codified by HHS at 45 CFR 75.

Samples of Successful Application: See: Tips for Writing a Strong Application – Section 4.7 of HRSA’s SF-424 Application Guide.

Link to Full Announcement:


Contact Information:    

Applicants may obtain additional information regarding business, administrative, or fiscal issues related to this funding opportunity announcement by contacting:

Belinda Williams Telephone: (301) 443-1565 Fax: (301) 443-9810 E-mail: bwilliams@hrsa.gov

Additional information related to the overall program issues and/or technical assistance regarding this funding announcement may be obtained by contacting:

Linda Kwon, MPH Telephone: (301) 594-4205 Fax: (301) 443-2803 E-mail: lkwon@hrsa.gov

Applicants may need assistance when working online to submit their application forms electronically. Applicants should always obtain a case number when calling for support. For assistance with submitting the application in Grants.gov, contact Grants.gov 24 hours a day, seven days a week, excluding Federal holidays at:

Grants.gov Contact Center Telephone: 1-800-518-4726 (International Callers, please dial 606-545-5035) E-mail: support@grants.gov

Categories: Department of Health and Human Services, Government Organizations, Health, Native American Tribes or Tribal Organizations, Non-profit Organizations, Public Benefits, Rural, Subgrant Possibilities

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