$350k Grant Will Help CoxHealth Reach Uninsured

Published 08/29 2013 07:32PM

Updated 09/03 2013 12:31PM

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- As the end of the year draws near, so does the deadline to have health insurance required under the Affordable Care Act. 

Nearly 300,000 uninsured Missourians qualify for the subsidized insurance in what is being called "the marketplace."

Now agencies in the Ozarks are starting campaigns to reach out to the uninsured, something mandated by the act.

"We will be able to educate, but also then enroll them," says Katie Towns-Jeter, CoxHealth Director of Corporate and Community Health.

It's a herculean task and Cox hospital has just received a $350,000 grant from the Missouri Foundation for Health the ensure that it happens.

"In order to make sure that we reach out to as many people as possible."

CoxHealth will reach out to the uninsured within their hospital system, promote community wide through media, and work with local agencies to educate and enroll the uninsured.

"Missouri Office on Aging, the health department, WIC offices -- all different sorts of agencies," says Towns-Jeter. "OACAC, some of the daycare centers that they have throughout the whole area all different types of social service and community agencies. So we want to meet people where they are."

The grant will also allow CoxHealth to hire people who will work full time on helping people meet this mandate.

"We will be hiring individuals to become certified application counselors and that just means that these people can provide unbiased education and enrollment to people in our community that need access to health insurance."

Towns-Jeter says there is confusion and uncertainty about this mandate and that's why it's important to get trusted help and health insurance.

"The fact of the matter is that people are out and about and they do not have access to health insurance and in a lot of ways that limits their care, it limits their resources and in some circumstances it causes a lot of financial strain."

Anyone who enrolls between October 1 and December 15 will have active insurance beginning on January 1, 2014.

According to Towns-Jeter, starting in 2015, people will have to document on their federal tax returns that they have health insurance or face fines.

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