Fed govt. awards money to "Alabama navigators" to facilitate hea - WSFA.com: News Weather and Sports for Montgomery, AL.

Fed govt. awards money to "Alabama navigators" to facilitate health exchanges

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MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) -

The federal government Thursday awarded millions of dollars to help those in who will use the new healthcare exchange to buy health insurance coverage.

Alabama has opted not to set up its own exchange, so the federal government is awarding the money to groups to facilitate those federally formed exchanges.

Alabama is one of a host of southern states with decision makers who disagree with the Affordable Care Act, commonly referred to as Obamacare, and have refused to participate.

Governor Robert Bentley has said that he refuses to expand Medicaid under the federal healthcare law, a move that would expand coverage to more than 300,000 Alabamians without health insurance.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced more than $1.4 million for what are known as "Alabama navigators". The awards went to Ascension Health, Samford University, Catholic Social Services Archdiocese of Mobile, Tombigbee Healthcare Authority, and AIDS Alabama.

The groups will be tasked with informing Alabamians about the healthcare exchanges, how to buy insurance, which plans suit them and whether they would be eligible for a medicaid expansion if Alabama was to open coverage to those people.

All of these groups must adhere to all state and federal privacy laws when dealing with people looking for assistance. Those state level exchanges, including Alabama's, are set to be online by October 1, 2013. That's when people in this state can start shopping for insurance under the law.

Copyright 2013 WSFA 12 News.  All rights reserved.

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