Two Planned Parenthood chapters, two United Way organizations, a food bank association and a Catholic hospital system are among 90 nonprofit groups that will receive a total of $60 million to help people sign up for health insurance, the Department of Health and Human Services announced today.
The money will help people in 34 states that rely on the federal government fully or in part for their Affordable Care Act insurance exchanges, where individuals can buy Obamacare policies. States with their own exchanges have separate funding to help consumers get assistance.
On the phone and in person, navigators help people understand the health law’s new benefits, including evaluating health plans for sale on the marketplaces, also known as exchanges. They have to balance explaining what’s offered without expressly telling people which policy to choose.
The second year of the exchanges open enrollment runs from Nov. 15-Feb. 15. In the first year, despite the disastrous rollout last October, more than 8 million people signed up for private insurance. Enrollment in Medicaid, the state-federal insurance program for the poor, grew by more than 7 million.
Many of the organizations that won the latest grants had assisted consumers during the first Obamacare enrollment that ended in March. The total amount awarded nationally is less than the $67 million awarded last year to states using the federal exchange.
“In-person assisters have an impact on the lives of so many Americans, helping individuals and families across the country access quality, affordable health coverage,” Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell wrote in a statement. “We are committed to helping Americans get covered and stay covered with in-person assistance in their own communities.”