By Michaela Gibson Morris
Two Mississippi organizations will share $1.1 million in grants to help the uninsured navigate finding health insurance.
The Department of Health and Human Services announced $67 million in grants to 105 organizations on Thursday to train and deploy navigators to provide in-person assistance to help people access health insurance and tax credit subsidies through federal health insurance exchanges.
University of Mississippi Medical Center, which is slated to receive $831,986, will assist uninsured patients at its hospitals and clinics with enrolling in Medicaid, CHIP and the federal marketplace exchange.
Oak Hill Missionary Baptist Church Ministries, which serves the lower Mississippi Delta Region, will train clergy as health ambassadors to reach out to uninsured residents with an anticipated $317,986 grant.
The navigators will have to go through 20 hours of training on the exchange as well as privacy and security regulations to protect personal information; they will have to pass a test to be certified. The navigators need to be ready to assist people when the exchanges go live Oct. 1.
In addition to navigators, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid are training agents and brokers and expanding the role of certified eligibility counselors to allow for more in-person helpers to supplement call center and online resources.