The New York State Department of Health has awarded the Community Health Center of Richmond (CHCR) a five-year grant of more than $2.58 million to provide consumer assistance for the New York Health Benefits Exchange through the In-Person Assistors and Navigators Program. CHCR is one of nine Staten Island entities conditionally awarded grant funding to serve as In-Person Assistors and Navigators for the Exchange.
The state health department announced conditional grants totaling more than $27 million to 50 organizations throughout New York in July. Grants are contingent upon a prequalification process.
“We’re excited and grateful to be selected to help provide consumer assistance about new affordable health insurance options to Staten Island residents and small businesses,” said Henry Thompson, CHCR Chief Executive Officer. “We know that when people don’t have health insurance, they often don’t seek health care when they need it. Good health insurance coverage leads to better health care.”
CHCR will send In-Person Assistors and Navigators into the community equipped with Wi-Fi capable laptop computers to qualify and assist applicants at designated locations throughout Staten Island. CHCR will work at these locations with its community partners. In addition, CHCR will also provide consumer assistance from its health center located at 235 Port Richmond Avenue.
Health Insurance Marketplaces are made possible by the Affordable Care Act to enable uninsured individuals find and enroll in various health insurance plans. In- Person Assistors and Navigators will provide information and application assistance for private Qualified Health Plans and help applicants determine eligibility for advance premium tax credits and cost-sharing reductions. Through the Exchange, insurance applicants may review options, calculate costs and select coverage online, in person, via telephone or by mail. For more information about the Exchange, visit www.HealthBenefitExchange.ny.gov
“These awards support the development of the statewide network of trained and certified IPAs/Navigators to assist New Yorkers in the application and enrollment process and to access tax credits to help offset the cost of coverage,” said New York Health Commissioner Nirav R. Shah, M.D., M.P.H.
Officials estimate that about 1.1 million New Yorkers will obtain insurance through the Exchange. Enrollment in the Exchange begins October 1, 2013, for coverage effective January 1, 2014.