|| Congressman Faleomavaega announced today that as of October 15, 2010, $120,000 in federal funds is made available to the American Samoa Government (ASG) from the Department of Health & Human Services (DHHS). Awarded through the DHHS Office of Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight, the discretionary grant will fund a 12-month project to establish an Ombudsman Program in American Samoa to provide health insurance consumer assistance in the Territory.
This grant is part of the Consumer Assistance Program carried out by DHHS to ensure that consumers understand their new rights and benefits under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). DHHS has allocated a total of $30 million to help States and Territories. With these grants, States and Territories will be able to:
*Help consumers enroll in health coverage
*Help consumers file complaints and appeals against health plans
*Educate consumers about their rights and empower them to take action; and
*Track consumer complaints to help identify problems and strengthen enforcement
“I would like to thank Secretary Sebelius and her staff at the Department of Heath and Human Services for their hard work in implementing the funding for American Samoa and the Territories under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act,” Faleomavaega stated.
“I am grateful that American Samoa and the Territories were included in the Consumer Assistance Program Grant and that our insurance consumers and providers will have access to pertinent information regarding coverage. For American Samoa, the Ombudsman Program will help ensure that consumers have the most current and accurate information on health care and secure coverage to meet their needs.”
“I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Secretary Sebelius for including American Samoa in the Healthcare.gov website that was specifically created by DHHS to explain the benefits of the new law. Because the website did not initially include the Territories, it gave the impression that we were excluded from the law,” Faleomavaega said.
“As a result, the Territorial delegates wrote a joint letter on August 6, 2010 to voice our concern with Secretary Sebelius, and I am very pleased to learn that information on American Samoa and the Territories is now available on the website,” Faleomavaega added.
“I will continue to work with Secretary Sebelius and DHHS to ensure that the people of American Samoa are informed and educated about the programs available under this landmark health care act,” Faleomavaega concluded.