AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — The federal government awarded $1.4 million to 19 Maine health centers on Wednesday to boost staff as the previously uninsured seek health care coverage under the Affordable Health Care Act.
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced that Maine’s centers will receive part of about $150 million in grants nationwide.
The department says that with the grants, Maine health centers will be able to hire 25 more workers to help more than 18,000 people find affordable health insurance coverage. Mainers can go to the health centers to learn about their coverage options, like Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program.
Maine’s 19 health centers operate 140 sites throughout the state. The department says that the centers served more than 180,000 people last year, 15 percent of whom were uninsured.
‘‘This investment will give Maine neighborhoods and towns one more resource to help people understand their insurance options and enroll in affordable coverage,’’ Sebelius said in a statement.
Under President Barack Obama’s health care law, every state will have an exchange starting Jan. 1, 2014. The exchanges will provide one-stop shopping for individual consumers and small businesses.