CHICAGO (AP) — Illinois is taking applications for $28 million in grants for a Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) exchange “in-person counselor” program.
The grants are supposed to go to “legally recognized organizational entities” that want to help individuals sign up for coverage through the new PPACA exchanges, or Web-based health insurance supermarkets, which are supposed to start enrolling consumers Oct. 1.
Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn’s office announced Monday a competitive grant process to distribute the federal money to community groups that want to help educate consumers about the new online insurance marketplace.
Grant applications are due May 30.
The types of organizations eligible to apply include nonprofit groups, farming organizations, fishing industry organizations, chambers of commerce and unions.
“We’ve got a big job to do making sure that people across Illinois are aware of the affordable and high-quality health care coverage options that will soon be available through the Affordable Care Act,” Quinn said in a statement. “That’s why we are partnering with trusted organizations that have proven records of success and roots in communities across Illinois to ensure that no one is left out.”
PPACA requires that nearly all Americans have health insurance beginning in 2014 or pay a penalty. People who are uninsured are supposed to be able to use the exchanges to enroll in government health programs or shop for commercial coverage.
Illinois officials estimate that more than half the consumers who seek coverage through the exchange system will need more help than they can get from the exchange website.
Illinois officials want consumers to get that help from guides who will be hired and supervised by community organizations that, starting now, are competing for grant money.