URL Submission

CMS requires issuers to submit URL data for the plans they intend to offer on the Exchange. URL submissions, including updates, are collected in the Supplemental Submission Module (SSM) in the Health Insurance Oversight System (HIOS). The following URLs should be submitted to the SSM:

  • Summary of Benefits and Coverage (SBC)
  • Plan Brochure
  • Payment
  • Formulary
  • Network
  • Transparency in Coverage

These URLs should lead to live, active webpages that contain accurate issuer marketing information for consumers by the deadlines communicated in the table below. CMS reviews the information provided at each URL to ensure there are no inaccuracies in issuer marketing material when compared to data within an issuer’s submitted QHP Application. CMS also checks that issuers meet provider directory accessibility standards when a network URL is selected.

Note that machine-readable URLs are submitted via the JSON URL Submission webpage, rather than the SSM.

URL Submission Systems and Deadlines

The table below outlines where each URL should be submitted, when the URL should be submitted, and when the data at those URLs should be live and active for plan year (PY) 2021.

URL Type

Submission Location

Submission Deadline

Live and Active Deadline

Transparency in Coverage


August 26, 2020*

Upon URL Submission

SBC, Plan Brochure, Payment, Formulary, Network


August 26, 2020

September 23, 2020

Machine-Readable Index.JSON

JSON URL Submission

Work with your CMS Account Manager

September 18, 2020

*Transparency in Coverage URLs are required for Early Bird and initial submission (on 5/19/20 and 6/17/20, respectively), should the issuer choose to submit Transparency in Coverage data for review in the Early Bird or initial review rounds.

Supplemental Submission Module (SSM)

Once an issuer has submitted plan data for certification, it will be able to submit or make changes to URLs associated with its plan data in the SSM. Note that issuers must submit at least one valid Plans & Benefits Template—either submitted in the Benefits & Service Area Module in HIOS for FFE issuers or transferred via SERFF for issuers in states performing plan management functions and SBE-FPs—to be able to access the SSM in HIOS.

Changes can be made through the SSM in two different ways:

  1. Submitting through a simple URL template, which can be downloaded from the module
  2. Submitting through a Search & Update capability available within the SSM User Interface (UI)

Issuers are not required to submit a data change request (DCR) or state authorization form in order to make their URL changes in the SSM. However, issuers must still comply with all state regulations before making any URL changes in the SSM. By submitting a URL change, issuers are attesting that the change(s) have been approved by the applicable state. 

Tips for URL Submission within the SSM

  • Issuers should ensure they have either Validator or Submitter access to the Benefits & Service Area Module in HIOS in order to enter the SSM to make URL changes, regardless of whether they submit in HIOS or the System for Electronic Rates & Form Filing (SERFF).
  • To submit a few URL changes, CMS recommends using the Search & Update capability in the user interface to upload changes. 
  • To change multiple URLs at once, issuers can download a pre-populated template within the SSM, which will contain existing URL data. Issuers should enter the desired URL into the “New URL” column next to the current URL that requires changes.
  • Note that only URLs entered in the “New URL” column will be stored in the system upon submission.
  • This method is recommended when submitting URL data for the first time each plan year.
  • All URLs entered in the SSM must start with either “http://” or “https://” and cannot contain commas or spaces.
  • States can review issuer URL changes made in the SSM via the HIOS State Evaluation Module or Plan Preview.
  • For more detailed instructions including screen shots, please see the Issuer Application Instructions, User Guide, and Quick Start Guide below.
  • For your reference, a copy of the issuer URL template can be found below. CMS strongly recommends using this only as a reference; for URL submissions and updates, please download a pre-populated version of the template within the SSM.

Application Resources