California community health centers are eligible for almost $22 million in federal funding to help them sign up the uninsured under the Affordable Care Act.
The 125 health clinics that provide primary care at about 1,200 sites could collectively hire more than 400 workers to sign up people needing insurance via the state exchange, Covered California.
Of the 3,261,720 patients seen at the centers in 2012, 42 percent were uninsured, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said in announcing the centers eligible for grants July 9. It’s expected about 576,000 people would sign up with the California health centers’ help.
The Obama administration said it would give $150 million to health centers nationwide to offer the insurance enrollment assistance. Almost all U.S. adults are required to buy health insurance for 2014, or pay penalties.
“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.
Health centers who receive grants are expected “to provide unbiased information to consumers about health insurance, the new marketplaces, qualified health plans, Medicaid, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program.” The funds are earmarked for hiring of new staffers, train of existing staff and/ volunteers, and for community outreach.