Health and Human Services (HHS) announced $150 million in awards to 1,159 community health centers.

Rockford IL, July 10, 2013: Health and Human Services (HHS) announced $150 million in awards to 1,159 community health centers nationwide to enroll uninsured Americans in the new health coverage options made available by the Affordable Care Act. These funds will be used to hire an additional 2,900 outreach and eligibility assistance workers to assist millions of persons nationwide with enrollment into affordable health coverage.

With these awards, which health centers in all 50 states have received, consumers will get help understanding their coverage options through the new Health Insurance Marketplace, Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program; determine their eligibility and what financial help they can get; and enroll in new affordable health coverage options.

These awards, issued by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), complement and align with other federal efforts, such as the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services-funded Navigator program.

Today’s announcement is part of the administration’s broader effort to make applying for health coverage as easy as possible. The new, consumer-focused website and the 24-hour-a-day consumer call center help Americans prepare for open enrollment and ultimately sign up for health coverage. These new tools will help Americans understand their coverage options and select the plan that best suits their needs when open enrollment in the new Health Insurance Marketplace begins October 1, 2013.

Locally, Crusader Community Health received $151,128 to fund new outreach and enrollment staff. theFranaGroup, a national health care consulting organization based in Rockford, announced that its clients in Illinois and Kentucky received a total of $344,457 in funds to hire new outreach and enrollment staff. These new workers will undergo three days of comprehensive training on the availability of plans offered through the new online Marketplace. Then starting October 1, 2013 they will be able to enroll persons in coverage during the six month enrollment period that ends March 31, 2014.