REACH Awards $300,000 to Support Enrollment Assisters

August 25, 2021

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The REACH Healthcare Foundation this week announced $300,000 in grants to eight organizations to support enrollment assistance for health care and other public benefits. The grants are designed to help eligible consumers enroll in coverage through HealthCare.gov, Kansas (KanCare) and Missouri (MO HealthNet) Medicaid, and other public benefits, including Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Women Infants and Children (WIC) and similar programs.

Grants to support enrollment assistance have totaled $2.24 million since 2016. Over the past five years, grants have supported enrollment efforts in rural communities, with individuals who are chronically homeless, immigrant and refugee populations, individuals with mental health needs, and other medically underserved populations.

“One of the foundation’s primary goals is to eliminate barriers to health coverage,” said Brenda Sharpe, REACH President and CEO. “These nonprofit organizations have built teams of highly qualified assisters who’ve made tremendous advances toward closing coverage gaps within the foundation’s six-county service area.”

Jessica Larson, Outreach and Enrollment Coordinator at KC CARE Health Center, says one-on-one assistance makes a difference. “People struggle to understand how coverage works because many of our clients haven’t ever been able to qualify or afford coverage,” said Larson.  “Once we help someone enroll, we continue that relationship so that we can guide them on how to use the coverage.”

Larson said KC CARE is preparing its team of health navigators to handle a larger volume of inquiries regarding MO HealthNet eligibility in anticipation of the rollout of Medicaid expansion in Missouri.

The Health Care Coalition of Lafayette County plans to introduce a new technology tool that will pre-screen clients to determine their eligibility for health coverage and public benefits. Suzanne Smith, Chief Network Development Officer, said the platform’s simple survey tool will help community health workers quickly identify available options for clients.

The following organizations received 12-month grants:

KANSAS

  • Community Health Council of Wyandotte County, $50,000 – Provide Medicare, KanCare and healthcare.gov assistance to Johnson and Wyandotte county residents through the Kansas Assistance Network.
  • El Centro, Inc., $30,000 – Focused on Latino immigrants and families in Wyandotte and Johnson counties, enrollment specialists provide education and enrollment assistance for KanCare and healthcare.gov and other public benefits.
  • Thrive Allen County, $30,000 – Health navigators enroll community members in health coverage and safety net services, including food assistance, KanCare, Medicare and rent assistance, and coordinate non-emergent transportation.

MISSOURI

  • Budget and Financial Management Assistance (BFMA), $30,000 – Working primarily with homeless persons, individuals with disabilities and elderly, BFMA enrolls and re-certifies clients for health coverage and helps them maintain access to other public benefits.
  • Health Care Collaborative of Rural Missouri, $30,000 – Community health workers assist rural residents with healthcare.gov, MO HealthNet, TANF, disability and other applications.
  • KC CARE Health Center, $30,000 – The Federally Qualified Health Center’s navigators assist Jackson County consumers with information about healthcare.gov, Medicare and MO HealthNet coverage options, post-enrollment needs and health insurance literacy.
  • Samuel U. Rodgers Health Center, $50,000 –Engaging a multi-lingual and culturally responsive health navigator team to educate consumers about MO HealthNet/CHIP and healthcare.gov coverage and assist with enrollment.
  • Truman Behavioral Health Care, $50,000 – Assist individuals who are chronically homeless and experiencing mental health and behavioral health conditions with enrollment for health coverage, disability and other benefits.

The Enrollment Assistance grants are a key strategy within the foundation’s Enroll All Eligible outcome area aimed at removing barriers to health coverage and care.

 

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