July 17, 2024

The Health

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Health Insurance Marketplace Quality Initiatives

Decorative Health Insurance Marketplace Quality Initiatives Icon - a woman and a man looking at computer screen together

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) authorizes the creation of Health Insurance Exchanges (also known as Health Insurance Marketplaces) to help individuals and small employers’ shop for, select, and enroll in high quality, affordable private health plans.

The Marketplace Quality Initiatives (MQIs) includes four programs established by the PPACA which requires the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) to develop quality data collection and reporting tools. The Marketplace Quality Rating System (QRS), QHP Enrollee Experience Survey (QHP Survey), Quality Improvement Strategy (QIS), and patient safety standards are Qualified Health Plan (QHP) quality-related certification requirements across all Marketplaces.

Scroll below to “Program Overview” for a description of each program.

Spotlight News

QRS and QHP Survey


  • Plan Year 2025 QIS Materials Available for Download (April 2024): The Quality Improvement Strategy (QIS) materials for the 2025 Plan Year are now available for issuers to download on the Downloads page.
  • Issuers should submit questions about QIS to CMS’ Marketplace Service Desk (MSD) by phone at 1-855-CMS-1515 (1-855-267-1515) or by email at [email protected]. When submitting inquiries via email, please include “MQI-QIS” and your HIOS Issuer ID in the subject line or body of the email.

Program Overview

Quality Rating System – QRS

The Quality Rating System (QRS) is a 5-star rating system used to rate QHPs based on relative quality and price. The goals of the QRS are to provide comparable and useful information to consumers, facilitate oversight of QHPs, and provide actionable information to QHPs to improve quality and performance.

QHP Enrollee Experience Survey

Quality Improvement Strategy – QIS

A Quality Improvement Strategy (QIS) is a payment structure that provides increased reimbursement or other incentives to improve health outcomes, reduce hospital readmissions, improve patient safety and reduce medical errors, implement wellness and health promotion activities, and/or reduce health and health care disparities.

Patient Safety

QHPs are required to contract with certain hospitals that use patient safety evaluation systems and implement comprehensive hospital discharge programs. QHPs are also required to contract with health care providers who implement health care quality improvement mechanisms.

Upcoming Deadlines and Events for Issuers

  • May 17, 2024: HHS-approved QHP Enrollee Survey vendor securely submits the QHP Enrollee Survey response data to CMS (on behalf of the QHP issuer).
  • June 14, 2024: QHP issuer submits the validated QRS clinical measure data, with attestation, to CMS via NCQA’s Interactive Data Submission System (IDSS).


  • Learn more about Quality Ratings: Information about the quality ratings of health plans is available on HealthCare.gov.
  • Learn more about Quality Measures: The CMS Measure Management System (MMS) Hub is the home for content related to quality measures, quality measure development and maintenance information. Explore the following links to MMS resources learn more about quality measures:  
  • Marketplace Quality Initiatives Listserv: We encourage you to let others know about the CMS Marketplace Quality Initiatives, and to subscribe to Marketplace Quality Initiatives Listserv to be included in future communications and updates.
  • Registration for Technical Assistance Portal (REGTAP): Register for REGTAP for training and resources related to the Health Insurance Exchanges.  
  • Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight (CCIIO) website: Navigate to the CCIIO website for more information about the Health Insurance Exchanges and QHP certification.
  • Qualified Health Plan (QHP) website: For QHP issuers operating in the FFE, find the QHP application, materials, and resources on CMS’ QHP certification website. 
  • Marketplace Quality Initiatives FAQs: Answers to frequently asked questions related to the MQI can be found on CMS’ QHP certification website.
  • MQI Regulations: The following final regulations established the quality reporting standards related to the Marketplace Quality Initiatives (MQI):

Marketplace Service Help Desk (MSD) (reference “Marketplace Quality Initiatives”)

QHP issuers and Exchanges with questions regarding the QRS, QIS, or the QHP Enrollee Survey should contact the MSD
[email protected] or 1-855-CMS-1515 (1-855-267-1515)