Center for Rural Health Receives Federal Grant to Help Pima County Residents Navigate the Health Insurance Marketplace

The UA Center for Rural Health in the Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health received a $190,000 Navigator grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to help uninsured Pima County Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders navigate Arizona’s federally facilitated Health Insurance Marketplace starting Oct. 1. 

Navigators are trained to provide unbiased information in a culturally competent manner to consumers about qualified health plans offered on the Marketplace, Medicaid (AHCCCS) and the Children’s Health Insurance Program.

To educate consumers, HHS awarded $67 million to 105 Navigator organizations across the United States., including $2.1 million to four in Arizona. Along with the Center for Rural Health, the other recipients include the Arizona Association of Community Health Centers, Greater Phoenix Urban League and Campesinos Sin Fronteras. 

“While we focus on Pima County, we collaborate across organizations and the state to help eligible uninsured residents understand Medicaid and Marketplace coverage options so they can enroll in the program,” said Howard Eng, DrPH, assistant professor and director of the CRH Navigator program.  Team members include Lynne Tomasa, PhD, assistant professor, Department of Family and Community Medicine, UA College of Medicine – Tucson; and Jeannie Lee, Pharm D, assistant clinical professor, Department of Pharmacy Practice and science, UA College of Pharmacy.

More than 250,000 Asian and Pacific Islanders live in Arizona. About 4,000 of the 40,000 living in Pima County are uninsured. 

“In Pima County, about 10 percent of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are uninsured.  Many own or work in small businesses. The Marketplace provides more affordable health insurance options,” said Eng. 

Funding supports comprehensive outreach to uninsured Asian American and Pacific Islanders. The CRH will work with the Southern Arizona Asian and Pacific Islander Health Coalition to help the uninsured understand their options and enroll in Marketplace health plans.

The Center for Rural Health at the University of Arizona Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health was named the 2013 Outstanding Rural Health Organization in the nation  by the National Rural Health Association. Home to the Arizona State Office of Rural Health, the CRH partners with other state agencies and organizations to improve the health and wellness of rural and underserved populations through service, research and education.