Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius today announced new funding to help more uninsured Americans enroll in new health insurance coverage options made available by the Affordable Care Act. Approximately $150 million will help community health centers provide in-person enrollment assistance to uninsured individuals across the nation. About 1,200 health centers operate nearly 9,000 service delivery sites nationwide and serve approximately 21 million patients each year.
"Health centers have extensive experience providing eligibility assistance to patients, are providing care in communities across the Nation, and are well-positioned to support enrollment efforts," Secretary Sebelius said. "Investing in health centers for outreach and enrollment assistance provides one more way the Obama administration is helping consumers understand their options and enroll in affordable coverage."
With these new funds, health centers will be able to hire new staff, train existing staff, and conduct community outreach events and other educational activities. Health centers will help consumers understand their coverage options, determine their eligibility and enroll in new affordable health insurance options. Community health center staff will provide unbiased information to consumers about health insurance, the new Health Insurance Marketplace, qualified health plans, and Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program.
This funding opportunity was issued by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), and it complements and aligns with other federal efforts, such as the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Service funded navigator program.
Today's funding announcement is part of the administration's larger effort to make applying for health insurance as easy as possible. For example, last week, we released a single, streamlined application that was shortened from 21 to 3 pages. We are committed to providing the type of assistance that Americans need to ensure that they have access to affordable health care.
"Health centers work in communities across the country, giving them a unique opportunity to reach the uninsured in their communities and help connect them with the benefits of health insurance coverage under the health care law," said HRSA Administrator Mary Wakefield, Ph.D, R.N.