LOS ANGELES, May 14, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Covered California™ today announced it intends to award grants totaling $37 million to 48 lead organizations. The grants will be used to conduct outreach and education programs on how, starting in 2014, Californians can access affordable health care coverage under the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The lead organizations will be supported by 226 subcontracting entities.
"We are excited to build on our partnerships with organizations that have trusted relationships in diverse communities throughout the state," said Peter V. Lee, Executive Director of Covered California. "Together, we can significantly strengthen our effort to ensure as many Californians as possible are aware of and are enrolled in the new health insurance options this fall for coverage beginning Jan. 1, 2014."
The selected organizations will reach nearly 9 million individuals and more than 200,000 small businesses in California's 58 counties. Covered California will focus its outreach on 5.3 million Californians in need of individual insurance, about half of whom may be eligible for financial assistance with their premiums.
The goal of the grant program is to increase awareness about the new benefits, to educate targeted audiences about the subsidy programs available to them and to motivate consumers and small businesses to be part of obtaining health insurance.
Covered California is developing educational partnerships that anchor outreach and education programs in communities where likely enrollees live, work, pray, shop, and play. California's Latino community represents the largest group of potentially subsidy eligible. This community is the focus of 37 outreach and education grants. Caucasians make up the next largest group and are reached through 24 grants; 32 grants are focused on African American outreach; and 11 grants target the Middle-Eastern community.
Some 20 grants specifically target outreach to the diverse Asian-Pacific Islander communities. These include: 19 organizations targeting the Vietnamese communities; 18 targeting the Chinese community; 18 targeting the Filipino community; 16 targeting the Korean community; 11 targeting the Hmong community; nine targeting the Laotian community; eight targeting the Japanese community; and eight targeting the Cambodian community. A list of grantees, grant amounts, and information on planned grantee activities is available at www.hbex.ca.gov.
"We are excited by the many organizations who will receive financial support, but we are also excited at the level of interest and commitment demonstrated by hundreds of organizations who applied," Lee said. "Whether or not they receive funding, we see an outpouring of interest from groups across the state who want to be part of increasing the number of Californians with health insurance, improve the quality of health care, reduce health care coverage costs and ensure California's diverse population has fair and equal access to quality health coverage."
Organizations that did not receive a grant can apply to become Assister Enrollment Entities under the Covered California Assisters Program. Assisters will be trained, certified, and in many cases paid by Covered California to provide in-person assistance to help individuals enroll. These organizations are also encouraged to become part of Covered California's Community Outreach Network.
Covered California's board allocated $43 million of its federal funding over two years for community organizations that can reach all eligible Californians. Of the $43 million available, $34 million has been allocated to organizations focusing their outreach on consumers eligible for health care coverage through Covered California; another $3 million has been allocated to organizations that reach out to small businesses eligible to provide coverage to employees through the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP). The remaining $6 million in funding will be used to augment successful outreach and education strategies in 2014.
About Covered California
California was the first state to create a health benefit exchange following the passage of the federal health care law. Covered California is charged with creating a new insurance marketplace in which individuals and small businesses can get access to health insurance. With coverage starting in 2014, Covered California will help individuals compare and choose a health plan that works best for their health needs and budget. Financial help will be available from the federal government to help lower costs for people who qualify on a sliding scale. Small businesses will be able to purchase competitively priced health plans and offer their employees the ability to choose from an array of plans and may qualify for federal tax credits. Covered California is an independent part of state government whose job is to make the new market work for California's consumers. It is overseen by a five-member board appointed by the Governor and Legislature. For more information on Covered California, please visit www.CoveredCA.com.
SOURCE Covered California