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HHS disperses grant funds in advance of health insurance reform

HHS distributed $67 million to organizations that have volunteered to educate patients on healthcare coverage options.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently awarded $67 million to 105 Navigator grant applicants and recognized more than 100 organizations that have volunteered to help teach Americans about what healthcare coverage is available to them.

Staff members working for organizations that receive Navigator grant funds have been trained to answer consumers' questions about health insurance reform and enrolling in the Health Insurance Marketplace plan. These individuals are able to help 24 hours a day, in 150 languages.

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"Navigators will be among the many resources available to help consumers understand their coverage options in the marketplace," said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. "A network of volunteers on the ground in every state -- healthcare providers, business leaders, faith leaders, community groups, advocates and local elected officials -- can help spread the word and encourage their neighbors to get enrolled."

Navigators can help patients identify an appropriate provider and health plan to meet their needs. They can also help patients make other important care decisions.

Several health insurance reform rules are due to go into effect in January 2014. These navigators will be able to provide assistance to all those affected by the changes.

Reda Chouffani is vice president of development with Biz Technology Solutions Inc., which provides software design, development and deployment services for the healthcare industry. Let us know what you think about the story; email or contact @SearchHealthIT on Twitter.

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