East Hawaii News

Grants to Help Health Centers Assist the Uninsured

July 10, 2013, 3:40 PM HST
* Updated July 10, 6:47 PM
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Health centers in Hawaii will receive $1.2 million in grants to help provide affordable health care coverage for uninsured individuals, several members of Hawaii’s congressional delegation said today.

The funding is part of $150 million in grants from the US Department of Health and Human Services to health care centers across the country.

The funding will be used to hire 21 additional employees at health centers across the state to help enroll the uninsured in new health plans made available by the Affordable Care Act.

According to US Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, about 34,662, or 24%, of the patients served in health centers in Hawaii last year were uninsured.

It is anticipated that the new workers will assist 21,516 people with enrollment into affordable health insurance coverage.

The centers can also assist individuals in determining their eligibility for Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program, as well as what kind of financial help may be available to them.

US  Rep. Colleen Hanabusa expressed her gratitude for the DHHS support.

“Hawaii’s health care centers have played an important role in our communities, providing quality, affordable medical care to under-served rural areas,” Hanabusa said.

Gabbard noted that access to quality healthcare is especially challenging in rural communities.

“This $1.2 million award for Hawai‘i’s health centers will help our uninsured and underinsured understand their coverage options under the Affordable Care Act and receive the insurance and care they and their families deserve,” she said.

Three of the 14 health centers receiving the funding are located on the Big Island.

Those clinics and their funding amounts are the Bay Clinic in Hilo, $115,918; the Hamakua Health Center in Honokaa, $68,075; and the West Hawai‘i Community Health Center in Kailua-Kona, $74,800.

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