Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius today announced $150 million in grant awards to 1,159 health centers across the nation to enroll uninsured Americans in new health coverage options made available by the Affordable Care Act. Speaking at the Mountain Park Health Center in Phoenix, Ariz., later in the day the Secretary noted that, with these funds, health centers are expected to hire an additional 2,900 outreach and eligibility assistance workers to assist millions of people nationwide with enrollment into affordable health coverage.
HHS Secretary Sebelius said, "Investing in health centers means that people in neighborhoods and towns across the country have one more resource to help them understand their insurance options and enroll in affordable coverage."
Health centers have a long history of providing eligibility assistance to patients along with delivering high-quality, primary health care services in communities across the nation. Today, health centers serve more than 21 million patients annually.
With these awards, which health centers in all 50 states have received, consumers will get help understanding their coverage options through the new Health Insurance Marketplace, Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program; determine their eligibility and what financial help they can get; and enroll in new affordable health coverage options.
These awards, issued by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), complement and align with other federal efforts, such as the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services-funded Navigator program.
Today's announcement is part of the administration's broader effort to make applying for health coverage as easy as possible. The new, consumer-focused HealthCare.gov website and the 24-hour-a-day consumer call center help Americans prepare for open enrollment and ultimately sign up for health coverage. These new tools will help Americans understand their coverage options and select the plan that best suits their needs when open enrollment in the new Health Insurance Marketplace begins Oct. 1, 2013.
"Health centers are excited to help individuals in their communities take advantage of the benefits of new health insurance coverage options that start January 2014," said HRSA Administrator Mary Wakefield, Ph.D, R.N. "Having trained, face-to-face assistance in enrollment from trusted resources at local health centers means that more people will get the help they need."
For a list of health centers receiving this funding, visit: http://www.hrsa.gov/about/news/2013tables/outreachandenrollment/.
To learn more about the Affordable Care Act, visit www.HealthCare.gov. To learn more about HRSA's Health Center Program, visit http://bphc.hrsa.gov/about/index.html.