Social Work’s Mississippi Health Access Collaborative Receives Grant Renewal

Social Work’s Mississippi Health Access Collaborative Receives Grant Renewal

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - The following is a news release from The University of Southern Mississippi

The School of Social Work at The University of Southern received a $359,712 grant renewal from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). With open enrollment for 2017 only a few weeks away, the funding will support local in-person assistance to help Mississippi consumers navigate, shop, and enroll in the wide variety of Marketplace coverage options.

"We are committed to making sure consumers have all the resources they need to find the right plan when open enrollment begins on Nov. 1," said Kevin Counihan, CEO of the Health Insurance Marketplace. "We know in-person assistance is critical to connecting individuals and families with quality, affordable health coverage that best meets their needs."

The School of Social Work facilitates the grant through the Mississippi Health Access Collaborative (MHAC).

"I could not be more pleased with our success over the past year," said MHAC project director, Kathryn Rehner. "Since November 1 2016, MHAC has reached more than 10,000 consumers across the 24 southernmost counties in the State. We are eager to continue our work to educate and enroll Mississippians in affordable health coverage options for another year."

The MHAC serves underserved populations and communities in rural areas. Specifically, MHAC will target the MS State Department of Health districts (VII, VIII, and IX) that encompass twenty-four counties. The MHAC will focus on mothers and children as part of its strategic plan to eliminate health disparities and improve access to health care in south Mississippi.

Navigators are trained individuals and organizations who help consumers, small businesses, and employees as they look for health coverage options and financial assistance through the Marketplace. Navigators meet in person with consumers and help them understand the coverage options available to them as well as help them pick, apply for, and enroll in a plan of their choice.

This is the second year of a three-year funding cycle for the returning grantees that currently provide local in-person assistance. Funding is released in 12 month increments as CMS continually assesses Navigator grantees' performance for ongoing support.

For more information about the School of Social Work in The University of Southern Mississippi's College of Health, visit For more information about Navigators and other Marketplace resources, visit: