BAKERSFIELD - Kern County's uninsured will soon get help accessing health care. A local group was just awarded half a million dollars to boost Obamacare enrollment.
The money was awarded to the Community Health Initiative at Mercy and Memorial Hospitals. That local group says with the funds, they plan to hire twelve people to get the word out about affordable health care options.
The goal is to get health care coverage to 18,000 now uninsured Kern County residents. The group plans to target hard to reach residents like the homeless or recently released inmates. The money comes from the California Endowment, a private organization that aims to help the public take advantage of the Affordable Care Act.
"We want to reach out to people of all ages including those people in hard to reach places, that there are affordable options under Obamacare," said Jan Hefner, Director of Community Wellness Program, Mercy and Memorial Hospitals. "We can help them understand what options are available to them so that they can be ready in case that unbelievable thing happens in their life and they need health insurance when they don't have it."
Officials say there's one option, in particular, that will help Kern County. Childless adults are now eligible for Medi-Cal.
"Now Medi-Cal is being expanded and there's thousands of individuals in Kern County that will be eligible," said Edgar Aguilar, program manager for Community Health Initiative.
The money will be used not only by Mercy and Memorial Hospitals, but also Kern Medical Center and Garden Pathways.