$2.3 million coming to AZ to help Affordable Care Act enrollment

$2.3 million coming to AZ to help Affordable Care Act enrollment

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Six southeastern Arizona health care centers will share $894,980 to help uninsured Arizonans get health care coverage through the Affordable Care Act.

The total coming to Arizona is $2,271,003.

The announcement was made today.

In a news release, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius "today announced $2,271,003 in grant awards to 17 Arizona health centers operating 140 sites to enroll the uninsured in new health coverage options made available by the Affordable Care Act.  In Arizona, health centers served 423,160 patients last year, 27 percent of whom were uninsured. With these funds, the awardees expect to hire 45 additional workers, who will assist 61,638 Arizonans 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 Arizona neighborhoods and towns one more resource to help people understand their insurance options and enroll in affordable coverage,' Sebelius said."

El Rio Community Health Center in Tucson is one of the recipients.

El Rio commented in a news release:

"'With financial support announced today by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, El Rio Community Health Center will soon be recruiting/training seven new staff that will be available to assist patients and community members in understanding the options within the new Health Insurance Marketplace coming under the Affordable Care Act' states Kathy Byrne, El Rio's Executive Director.

The new staff will also assist in determining eligibility for individuals and families for Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) coverage and, as appropriate, aid with the enrollment processes. These new outreach and enrollment services will be available starting October 1, with coverage going into effect January 1, 2014. Although focused on provision of high-quality primary health care, community health centers like El Rio have a long history of providing eligibility assistance. 'Access to well-trained, face-to-face assistance from a trusted source means that more Tucsonans will receive the help they need' says Byrne.

El Rio was one of 17 health centers awarded funding in Arizona and received $290,000 in an effort to help assist people with enrollment into affordable health insurance coverage."

To learn more about the Affordable Care Act's Health Insurance Marketplace and to see if you qualify, the federal government has set up a website.

The southeastern Arizona cities, towns and communities where health care centers will be getting the grants are Tucson, Ajo, Douglas, Marana, Nogales and Green Valley.

To see the list of Arizona health care centers receiving grants click here.

Tucson News Now's Barbara Grijalva can be followed on Twitter at @BGrijalvaKOLD.

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