Four organizations in Arizona are among the 105 chosen by the Obama Administration to help uninsured people understand the Health Exchange Marketplaces and select a health insurer as required by the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
- The Arizona Association of Community Health Centers will receive $1.3 million. The Association, which represents and advocates on behalf of healthcare centers, will coordinate outreach to uninsured persons throughout the state.
- The Arizona Board of Regents at the University of Arizona will receive $190,000 on behalf of its Center for Rural Health. The Center will work with the Southern Arizona Asian & Islander Health Coalition to assist Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in Pima County.
- The Greater Phoenix Urban League will receive $524,000 to provide a comprehensive, statewide public awareness campaign to identify and assist uninsured Arizonans to access and navigate the Health Exchange Marketplace.
- Campensinos Sin Fronteras, Inc. will recive $71,000 to provide enrollment assistance to uninsured persons in Yuma County.
Dan Derksen, director of the Center for Rural Health, expects that the ACA will cover more than half of all Arizonans who currently lack health insurance. Arizona is "right around the bottom five states in terms of percentage of population that is insured," he said in an Arizona Public Media interview posted on the group's website today.
This includes bout 300,000 low-income Arizonans who will receive Medicaid through the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS) coverage after January 1, when a new state law extends coverage to persons earning up to 133% over the federal poverty line.
"How many people that are eligible actually enroll in these new marketplaces, or are covered by Medicaid, depends on how well we do with the outreach, how well we set up on-site assistance to help people that are uninsured sign up for what they’re eligible for, and how well we do in getting the information out especially in rural areas, especially in tribal communities," Derksen concluded.
The Obama Administration awarded $67 million to groups in 34 states to help pay for navigators who will assist uninsured people using the Health Exchange Marketplaces run by the federal government. Marketplaces are only in those states that, like Arizona, declined additional federal assistance to set up their own exchanges.
The Administration initially expected to spend $54 million but decided to transfer an additional $13 million from a fund set up under ACA to help pay for preventive care initiatives.
Enrollment in health insurance plans is expected to begin October 1.