Obama Administration Awards $21.9 Million to California Health Centers to Provide Enrollment Assistance
Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius today announced $21,931,657 in grant awards to 129 California health centers operating 1,221 sites to enroll the uninsured in new health coverage options made available by the Affordable Care Act. In California, health centers served 3,261,720 patients last year, 42 percent of whom were uninsured. With these funds, the awardees expect to hire 411 additional workers, who will assist 575,863 Californians with enrollment into affordable health insurance coverage. Across the nation, 1,159 health centers will receive $150 million in grant awards.
"This investment will give California neighborhoods and towns one more resource to help people understand their insurance options and enroll in affordable coverage," HHS Secretary Sebelius said.
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.
With these awards, health centers will help consumers understand their coverage options in California's new Health Insurance Marketplace – Covered California. They will also help determine an individual's eligibility for Medi-Cal and the Children's Health Insurance Program; any financial help they can get; and enroll them in new affordable health coverage options.
The 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 larger effort to make applying for health coverage as easy as possible. The new, consumer-focused coveredca.com and HealthCare.gov websites and the 24-hour-a-day consumer call center are available to help Californians prepare for open enrollment and ultimately sign up for health coverage. These new tools will help Californians understand their coverage options and select the plan that best suits their needs when open enrollment in Covered California begins October 1, 2013.
"California health centers are excited to help individuals in their communities take advantage of the benefits of new health insurance coverage options that start in 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 Californians will get the help they need."
For a list of health centers receiving this funding in all 50 states, 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.