AUGUSTA — Two Maine organizations will receive almost $550,000 in federal grants to help residents sign up for insurance under the new federal health care law.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced Thursday that Western Maine Community Action Inc. and Fishing Partnership Health Plan will receive $541,846 to run “navigator” programs.

Navigators are counselors that will help explain different plans being offered on the new exchange under the Affordable Health Care Act and assist residents in buying coverage. Enrollment on the exchange begins Oct. 1.

HHS is awarding a total of $67 million in grant awards to organizations throughout the country.

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