March 22, 2013
WASHINGTON—The Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum (APIAHF) kicked off a week of action to mark the ACA’s third anniversary on March 23, recognizing the significance the law has already had on the lives of millions of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders (AAs and NHPIs).
2013 is a pivotal year for health reform because states and the federal government are working to set up the new health insurance marketplaces that will allow individuals, families and small businesses to shop for, purchase, and enroll in health insurance plans that meet their needs and budgets, all in one competitive marketplace.
In celebration of the ACA’s third birthday, APIAHF created the Affordable Care Act Turns 3: A Planning and Educational Toolkit for Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Communities, which provides easy to use resources to help organizations plan and implement public outreach drives about health reform. In addition, APIAHF today released a video promoting the benefits of the health reform law and encouraging all communities to be prepared for open enrollment.
“Health reform is a huge win for AA and NHPI communities,” said Kathy Ko Chin, APIAHF president and CEO. “But many of the stories we hear from our communities are about individuals and families who do not speak English very well or at all, and face day-to-day challenges accessing the health care they need. We need solutions to ensure limited English speakers are encouraged and able to navigate the new health insurance process.”
Language barriers have the potential to leave out hundreds of thousands of individuals and families who do not speak English well enough to understand the health insurance enrollment process. Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders are expected to be greatly impacted by the process, as more than 4 million in these populations living in the U.S. primarily speak a language other than English. It is critical that federal and state officials provide translated applications and language services for limited English speakers. The need is just too great, as an estimated one in four people in the new marketplaces will speak a language other than English at home.
APIAHF announced a “take action” initiative earlier this month, calling on all communities across the country to celebrate the advancements in health care coverage under the ACA, and also urge the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to ensure that health reform works for all communities, especially limited English speakers. Communities are encouraged to take action online or print postcards with a message for the Department. Later this month, APIAHF will mail the postcards to HHS, putting a real face on the nation’s diversity and language needs.
Stay up-to-date on what communities are saying about health reform by following #ACAturns3 on Twitter.