Groups acting as Affordable Care Act navigators are struggling after Health and Human Services officials informed them that their funding for services this year will be reduced by as much as 92 percent. Some, however, anticipated the Trump administration's move and have already secured alternative funding to advertise and help people sign up for exchange plans during open enrollment this fall.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services on Aug. 31 announced that it plans to spend $10 million on promotional activities in order to meet the needs of new or returning ACA enrollees, a figure that the agency says is consistent with promotional spending on Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D. CMS itself will advertise and conduct outreach to educate consumers on the new dates of the open enrollment period, which starts Nov. 1, through digital media, email, and text messages.

"These outreach methodologies have proven the most effective in reaching existing and new enrollees," the agency writes. "During the most recent open enrollment period, CMS spent more than $100 million on promotional activities — nearly double what was spent in 2015 — but saw first-time enrollment decline by 42 percent and effectuated enrollment decline by approximately 500,000 individuals."

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Katie Kuehner-Hebert

Katie Kuehner-Hebert is a freelance writer based in Running Springs, Calif. She has more than three decades of journalism experience, with particular expertise in employee benefits and other human resource topics.