Today, July 9,, U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius announced that Montana would be receiving nearly $1.5 million dollars worth of grant money for enlisting people into the affordable care acts new insurance exchanges.

Although some of the money will go towards computers and other equipment, the bulk of the money will be spent on hiring individuals to help guide people to and through the the new healthcare exchange market.  Missoula's Partnership Health center won one of the grants, Director Kim Mansch explains the details of how the grant will work in her office..

"We have received $131,000," said Mansch. "This will allow us to hire three additional new staff members to support new and expanded outreach efforts for the market place options that are going to be coming available with the affordable care act."

The staff members will receive full benefits and hourly pay between $13 and $15 an hour. However, the job may not last forever.

"We have been notified that this funding is just for one year," said Mansch. "We are not aware that it will be renewed at this particular point, but there is always the hope of that, as we continue to get people enrolled in these programs. The one disadvantage that we have in Montana right now is that we did not pass medicaid expansion so we don't have the opportunity to enroll more people in medicaid at this particular time."

18 other health centers in Montana received funding as well. Nationwide, over $150 million dollars were spent in the ongoing effort to inform the public of the new options available under the affordable care act.