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SPRINGFIELD - Today, the Illinois Primary Health Care Association (IPHCA) was awarded a $3.2 million grant from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to operate a statewide health insurance navigator program. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) put healthcare navigators into place starting in 2013 to assist individuals in navigating health insurance enrollment. This grant award is a testament to the commitment that Illinois’ Federally Quality Health Centers (FQHCs) have made in connecting marginalized communities to affordable healthcare. The new round of awards marks a renewed, robust investment in this highly effective program.

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For the next three years, IPHCA, its members, and other partner organizations will employ navigators throughout Illinois’ communities. Health navigators will work on the ground in communities to assist the uninsured and other underserved communities in obtaining and utilizing health insurance coverage, and they will assist any consumer seeking assistance regardless of where the consumer lives.

“Health navigators are an integral component of our healthcare system,” said Ollie Idowu, President, and CEO at IPHCA. “For too long, vast disparities and inequalities have plagued our healthcare system, and as a result communities throughout our country have suffered the consequences through higher rates of chronic diseases like hypertension and diabetes, higher maternal mortality, lower life expectancy, and other preventable conditions. IPHCA is proud to play an important role in rooting out those deep-seated inequities by connecting individuals with the healthcare they need and deserve, regardless of race, ethnicity, or zip code.”

IPHCA is a nonprofit trade association that represents community health centers throughout the state. Illinois’ 53 community health centers provide comprehensive, integrated primary care including medical, behavioral, and oral health care to nearly 1.5 million patients annually across nearly 400 service sites in underserved rural, urban, and suburban communities.

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