/ Modified jul 10, 2013 3:30 p.m.

AZ Health Centers Awarded $2.3 Million

El Rio received $290K; the money will go toward funding programs to help patients find insurance under Affordable Care Act.

Arizona health centers received $2.3 million Wednesday to fund programs that would help patients find insurance under President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act, The Associated Press reported.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius made the announcement during a visit to Phoenix Wednesday.

With this funding, the centers are expected to hire 45 new workers total to help patients learn about their insurance options, including how to buy private insurance through the health insurance marketplace, as well as determining if patients or their families qualify for Medicaid or the Children's Health Insurance Program, a coverage for children whose household income is too high to receive Medicaid.

El Rio Community Health Center is among the 17 state health centers that will benefit from the funds. The health center received $290 thousand.

"...El Rio Community Health Center will soon be recruiting (and) training seven new staff that will be available to assist patients and community members in understanding the options within the new health insurance marketplace coming under the Affordable Care Act," said Kathy Byrne, executive director of El Rio Community Health Center, in a press release from El Rio.

The new outreach and enrollment services will become available on Oct. 1, with health care coverage going into effect January 1, 2014, the press release said.

"Access to well-trained, (and) face-to-face assistance from a trusted source means that more Tucsonans will receive the help they need," Byrne said.

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