Feds Give $400K Grant to Utah Health Policy Project to Prep For New Healthcare Laws

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The Utah Health Policy Project (UHPP) announced Thursday that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) awarded UHPP and its partners a training grant of $406,000 designed to “train the trainers.”

The money is part of $54 million in total grants being spread across the nation,and is a major component in the federal government’s plan to roll out the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to the public—by hiring “Navigators” to assist the uninsured learn about newly available insurance options.

UHPP and their partners, the Association for Utah Community Health (AUCH) and United Way of Salt Lake 2-1-1, joined together to form the loose group “Take Care Utah,” and were awarded the grant to be the non-profit, community-based navigators for the citizens of Utah.

“Anyone who has shopped for health insurance knows that it isn’t a simple process,” said Jason Cooke, Interim Executive Director of UHPP.  “Who wouldn’t want a trained guide to help them find and understand their best options? Take Care Utah, the collaboration between UHPP, AUCH, and United Way 2-1-1, will be there from day one to help Utahns bring home the health insurance coverage they need.”

It is estimated that Utah has over 360,000 citizens who are uninsured, delaying or ignoring preventative care, and using the emergency room as a far more expensive option. When ER bills are not paid, taxpayers are often left holding the bill. By requiring that individuals hold some form of insurance (either public or private), proponents of the law say it is estimated that insurance costs will go down, as well as the price of healthcare.

Take Care Utah and their “navigators” say they will be ready come October 1, when Utah’s Health Care Exchange officially opens for those who will now be able to access affordable health care.  “We are looking forward to helping more Utahns find health insurance that fits their budget,” said Randal Serr, Take Care Utah’s director. “We have partnered with some fantastic organizations that enjoy the high level of trust in their communities to get the job done.”

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