January 21, 2016
WASHINGTON – There are only 11 more days for consumers to sign up for health coverage under the federal and state marketplaces. During this AAPI Affordable Care Act Week of Action, Action for Health Justice (AHJ) is pleased to spread the word about health coverage options available through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and resources to help with enrollment efforts. AHJ is a national coalition of more than 70 community-based organizations and Federally Qualified Health Centers dedicated to ensuring that Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders (AAs and NHPIs) understand the benefits of health coverage through the ACA.
“We are inspired that more than 17.6 million people across the country have health coverage thanks to the ACA, and are motivated to continue our efforts so all AA and NHPI communities can enroll in coverage,” said Doreena Wong, project director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles Health Access Project and member of AHJ. “In the first two enrollment periods, AHJ partners supported and enrolled nearly 850,000 AAs and NHPIs through one-on-one assistance. This year, our partners are focused on reaching those hardest to reach and ensuring all individuals and families know how to benefit from their coverage. We also want to make sure that eligible, uninsured community members do not miss the Open Enrollment Period that ends on January 31, 2016.”
AHJ partners are working in 22 states to provide one-on-one assistance in 56 languages to those who need help navigating the health insurance enrollment process. This assistance is critical to enrollment as one in three AAs and NHPIs have difficulty speaking, writing, or reading English. During the first two enrollment periods, the lack of reference tools and materials in languages other than English and Spanish posed a significant challenge for enrollment and renewal efforts. In working with certified enrollment assisters and counselors, and other community partners, AHJ developed the Health Insurance Enrollment Glossary – a free glossary of 100 commonly used health care terms available in 12 Asian and Pacific Islander languages.
“Affordable and accessible health care continues to be a crucial need within our communities,” said Jeffrey Caballero, executive director of the Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations (AAPCHO), a member of AHJ. “Thanks to in-language tools like the glossary and ‘Coverage to Care’ toolkit, developed with the help of our member health centers and community partners to make the enrollment process easier, we’ve been able to reach more individuals but our work is not done. Without improved support for in-person assisters and more in-language resources like these, health care will continue to be out of reach for AAs, NHPIs and other limited English populations due to language barriers.”
The deadline to enroll in coverage through the Marketplace is January 31, 2016. Individuals and families can shop for, compare and enroll in coverage that is affordable and meets their budget at www.healthcare.gov. Depending on household income, financial assistance is available. Enrollment is open to all U.S. citizens and lawfully present persons. Those who are not eligible for coverage can still apply on behalf of other family members who are eligible. Immigrants are encouraged to apply and their immigration information will only be used to verify eligibility. After January 31, individuals may still be able to enroll under special “qualifying” circumstances, such as losing health insurance coverage or getting married. Enrollment for Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program is open year-round. Please check with your local community-based enrollment entity, visit www.healthcare.gov, or call 1-800-318-2596 to find out more.