By Frank Lewis
Compass Community Health of Portsmouth is one of only six health centers to receiving funding for outreach and enrollment assistance through the Health Insurance Marketplace. The Health Resources Services Administration said six new Ohio Centers will receive $417,958 in awards.
Those funds will support health centers’ work in raising awareness of affordable insurance options and providing eligibility and enrollment assistance to uninsured residents in their communities. Open enrollment in the Marketplace began on November 1, 2015 and runs through January 31, 2016.
“We received our fully funded status in August and those health centers at that time that received funding in August were offered the opportunity to apply for additional funding for an Outreach and Enrollment person,” Sonie Hash of Compass Community Health, said. “O&E people work to connect people in the community with the marketplace insurance programs. The Affordable Care Act created the opportunity for people who never had insurance before, who couldn’t afford it, to get access to health insurance.”
She said the funding is designed to allow the health center to have additional people to provide services to patients and to help get them connected with insurance options.
“We applied for that additional funding to create a position for a person to perform those duties,” Hash said.
Hash said, currently Beth Dunlap is working as an enrollment specialist, and with the new funding; Compass will be able to hire additional people to deal with enrollment issues.
“Today’s awards build upon the work health centers across the country have done over the past three years to help Ohioans learn about and enroll in affordable health insurance coverage,” HRSA Acting Administrator Jim Macrae said. “With these funds, Ohio health centers will be able to ramp up efforts to reach the uninsured members of their communities during Open Enrollment.”
Nationwide, HRSA announced approximately $7 million in awards for health center outreach and enrollment assistance to 93 health centers. These awards build on HRSA’s annual $150 million national investment in health center outreach and enrollment activities. Since July 2013, health centers have assisted more than 12 million people with their efforts to become insured. You can visit localhelp.healthcare.gov/ to find out who is doing enrollment in your community and which ones have translation services.
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.