Insurers received welcome news on Thursday--the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services has earmarked $150 million to help community health centers promote and enroll consumers on health insurance exchanges.
Because the 1,200 community health centers across the country already serve many uninsured consumers, they're well-positioned to reach out to people who would be eligible for obtaining health coverage through the online marketplaces.
"Health centers have extensive experience providing eligibility assistance to patients, are providing care in communities across the nation, and are well-positioned to support enrollment efforts," Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius said in a statement.
Now, the health centers can use the funds to hire new staff and conduct community outreach events to help consumers understand their coverage options, determine eligibility and enroll in new health plans, according to HHS.
Meanwhile, Colorado became the first state to launch an ad campaign focused on increasing consumers' awareness of the exchanges. Spending $2 million, the state has created television, print, radio and billboard ads that will run for two months, reported Kaiser Health News. Colorado also will allocate about $10.5 million to offer in-person consumer assistance to help consumers sign up for a health plan on the exchange.
Several others states, including Oregon and Kentucky, plan to start promoting their exchanges next month.