MO Health Centers Get Health Insurance Money

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COLUMBIA - The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced Wednesday 22 Missouri health centers will share over $2.9 million in grant money. The money will help provide uninsured Missourians with new health coverage options under the Affordable Care Act. With the money, centers expect to hire an additional 59 workers who will help more than 62,000 Missourians enroll in affordable health care insurance.

The Regional Health Care Clinic in Sedalia is expected to receive $93,771; the Community Health Center of Central Missouri in Jefferson City, $76,534; and the Family Health Center of Boone County in Columbia, $98,259.

Teresa Hickam is a patient at Family Health Center of Boone County and didn't have insurance for 20 years. She appreciates the money from personal experience.

"I have some friends who don't have insurance and just like me before they just are sick and deal with it, just the best they can," Hickam said. "There's a lot of sick people out there that need help and attention and if they can't get it, it will just make their position a little bit worse. I know it did mine when I didn't have insurance."

Health center employees will explain new insurance options to patients under the act, and determine patients' eligibility for Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program.

Last year, 23 health centers in Missouri served 438,406 patients, and 35-percent of those patients were uninsured.

Nationwide, HHS awarded 1,159 health centers, including those in Missouri, $150 million in grant money.