HCF announces more than $345,000 for insurance marketplace outreach

by KHI News Service

The Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City announced it will award more than $345,000 for outreach, education and enrollment efforts for the next health insurance marketplace open enrollment period, which begins Nov. 15.

Five organizations will use the funding to provide enrollment counselors, increase collaboration and recruit additional enrollment partners in the Kansas City area. The funding also will support health insurance literacy efforts.

Grantees, funding amounts and their programs:

Enroll Wyandotte, $99,900
Focuses on performing community marketplace outreach, engaging faith communities, training nonprofit staff/volunteers, and building health insurance literacy.

Cover Missouri, $30,000
Regularly convenes Missouri-based application counselors and navigators for shared learning, creates materials for distribution, and builds awareness through social and earned media.

Kansas Association for the Medically Underserved, $48,620
Partners with federally qualified health centers and other safety net clinics in Kansas to provide training and technology for in-person enrollment assistance.

Mid-America Regional Council, $60,500
Convenes marketplace stakeholders throughout the KC-area for regular updates and planning.

United Way of Greater Kansas City, $106,025
Operates the 2-1-1 comprehensive information and referral line and connects consumers with available services. United Way communications will be used to promote awareness of the marketplace

During the first enrollment period that ended in March 2014, 152,335 Missourians and 57,013 Kansans signed up for health insurance through the marketplace.

“Uninsurance is associated with many negative health outcomes, including forgoing or delaying necessary medical care,” said Dr. Bridget McCandless, president and chief executive of the foundation. “Encouraging enrollment in available health insurance options holds the promise of leveraging federal subsidies to achieve affordable coverage for HCF’s target population.”

United Way 2-1-1 and coverkc.org will serve as the central information hub for Kansas Citians looking for information and resources regarding the health insurance marketplace.

“We learned this past year that the enrollment infrastructure in Kansas City was not adequate to handle the high volume of in-person enrollment requests that occurred during the final weeks of the first open enrollment period,” said Jessica Hembree, the foundation’s program and policy officer. “Focus groups with area enrollment counselors also demonstrated that collaboration and learning between outreach and enrollment stakeholders will be crucial to increased efficacy in the coming enrollment period.”

The KHI News Service is an editorially independent initiative of the Kansas Health Institute. It is supported in part by a variety of underwriters. The News Service is committed to timely, objective and in-depth coverage of health issues and the policy-making environment. More about the News Service is at khi.org/newsservice or contact at 785-233-5443.

Injuries reported after driver swerves to avoid bumper on highway

A driver on Saturday swerved to avoid hitting a bumper on I-635 northbound at Metropolitan, then hit the barrier wall and another vehicle.

According to the Kansas Highway Patrol trooper’s report, a Chrysler Sebring that was on I-635 hit a Kia Soul after the barrier wall.

The Sebring’s driver, a 60-year-old Kansas City, Kan., woman, was not injured, according to the report.

The driver of the Kia, a 72-year-old Kansas City, Kan., man, was injured and taken to a hospital. A passenger in the Kia, a 61-year-old Kansas City, Kan., woman, also was injured and taken to a hospital.

Heat wave continues Monday

A heat wave continues Monday as temperatures are expected to rise to 97 degrees, with a heat index as high as 102.

A heat advisory is in effect until 8 p.m. Aug. 25, according to the National Weather Service.

After a very hot Monday, temperatures may decrease slightly on Tuesday, the weather service said. Tuesday’s high may be 95, and Wednesday’s high may be 92.

The next chance for thunderstorms is Tuesday night, with rain chances extending into Thursday night. Severe weather risk is low at this time.

The Kansas City area is on the edge of an area that could pick up a quarter to a half-inch of rain through Wednesday. The rains could either hit or miss Kansas City, Kan. Areas to the south of the state’s northern border could just receive a few tenths of an inch of rain.