By Natasha Robinson, MPCA Communications Specialist
Health Centers in Michigan and across the nation have the opportunity to receive grant funding under the Affordable Care Act to assist individuals in applying for health coverage, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced today.
Thirty-two Health Centers in Michigan are eligible for the more than $3.7 million available. Health Centers receiving the supplemental funding will be required to increase their current outreach and enrollment assistance capacity by a minimum of one full-time equivalent position. The funding announcement offers details on application requirements, and submissions are due by May 31, 2013. Each Health Center would receive a base amount of at least $50,000.
“The opportunity for Michigan’s Health Centers to infuse millions of dollars into outreach and enrollment efforts to reach uninsured individuals and families across the state is tremendous,” said Kim Sibilsky, chief executive officer, Michigan Primary Care Association (MPCA). “Michigan Health Centers have already gained expertise in outreach and enrollment by enrolling thousands of adults and children in Medicaid, MIChild, and other assistance programs over the years. This funding will allow our Health Centers to build capacity, adding at least 32 new full-time enrollment assisters. Health Centers across the state serve over 175,000 uninsured patients and this funding will allow us to help them navigate the process of enrolling in new coverage options available through the Affordable Care Act.”
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said Health Centers will be able to use the funds 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. 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 (MI Child).
“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,” Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen 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.”
Approximately $150 million will be available for the nation’s 1,200 Health Centers, which operate nearly 9,000 service delivery sites and approximately 21 million patients each year.
Michigan Health Centers serve more than 600,000 patients each year at more than 220 delivery sites and their doors are open to everyone, regardless of insurance status or income level.