September 16, 2013
There are more than 200,000 uninsured residents of Travis County, and under the new Affordable Care Act a large number of individuals will require information and assistance navigating the new health care landscape. The Central Health Board of Managers approved on Wednesday, Sept. 11 new funding to support community education, outreach, and enrollment services for the new federal insurance marketplace, which opens on Oct. 1 of this year.
The Board allocated a total of $772,000 from its service expansion line item for the expansion of services to support navigation assistance for the marketplace. The funding, described as the first phase of a multi-phase effort, will support the startup of various navigation, education, and outreach programs over for the first 90 to 100 days following the anticipated Oct. 1 opening of the marketplace. Central Health staff members expect additional funding will be necessary through the coming year. Central Health will provide a total of $300,000 to fund efforts through the United Way for Greater Austin. Central Health presently partners with the United Way for services through the Health Care Navigation Center, a call center accessible at 512-978-8130 that provides application and enrollment services for various health coverage programs.
An additional $472,000 will be directed to Sendero Health Plan’s marketing and enrollment efforts.
“Under our existing programs, we are able to help thousands of people get access to care through Medicaid and CHIP. With the healthcare exchange coming into play, we’re now going to have a greatly increased capability to keep families together under the same plan and with the same provider. We really feel strongly about the numerous positive outcomes that will result from all members of a family having equal access to the same high-quality care. That familiarity and that consistency are just invaluable. We view this as a great opportunity to truly affect the health and wellness of our community,” Board Member Lynne Hudson said.