The Community Health Center of Central Missouri is one of 22 health centers in the state to receive a grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to help enroll the uninsured in new health coverage options through the Affordable Care Act.
The Jefferson City health center's grant totals $76,534. Nearly $3 million in grants were awarded around the state.
"This investment will give Missouri neighborhoods and towns one more resource to help people understand their insurance options and enroll in affordable coverage," said Kathleen Sebelius, U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) secretary.
According to HHS, Missouri's 23 health centers served 438,406 patients last year, 35 percent of whom were uninsured.
"Missouri 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 Mary Wakefield, a Health Resources and Services Administration administrator. "Having trained, face-to-face assistance in enrollment from trusted resources at local health centers means that more Missourians will get the help they need."
According to HHS, these grants will allow health centers to help consumers understand their coverage options in the new Health Insurance Marketplace. Enrollment for the marketplace begins Oct. 1. The grants will also allow health centers to determine an individual's eligibility for Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and help them enroll in new affordable health coverage options. With these grants, Missouri health centers expect to hire 59 additional workers who will assist more than 62,000 Missourians with enrollment for affordable health insurance coverage.
Don Holloman, chief operating officer of the Community Health Center of Central Missouri, said the center plans to use the grant to hire two new outreach enrollment staff, which will expand the outreach enrollment department. He said the center currently employs an outreach coordinator, but the staff person is more focused in grassroots and getting the mission of the health center out to the public.
"They'll focus on educating, enrolling, training and providing outreach to the residents of Central Missouri in the next 12 months," Holloman said. "They're going to be connecting those uninsured residents with assistance and understanding the health exchange system."