September 22, 2015

WASHINGTON – Today, the Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum (APIAHF) released the below statement following remarks by U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Sylvia Burwell regarding the third Open Enrollment period for health coverage through the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) Marketplace. Secretary Burwell noted that while 17.6 million have enrolled in coverage since the ACA took effect, more than 10.8 million are eligible for coverage and have not yet enrolled in a plan.

“It is encouraging to see such results from previous enrollments efforts to help connect people to health care,” said Kathy Ko Chin, APIAHF president and CEO. “The numbers show once again that the ACA is working as intended, but remind us there is more to be done to reach all communities, especially Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders.”

Today, HHS released a new ASPE Data Point, noting one-third of the eligible population are people of color, and 2 percent of the eligible population is Asian American. It is clear that many subgroups of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders face barriers to enrollment and need in-person in-language assistance to enroll in coverage. Collectively with Action for Health Justice (AHJ), a national coalition of more than 70 organizations, APIAHF has worked across 22 states and provided enrollment outreach and assistance in 41 languages to Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders throughout the country. During the second open enrollment period, AHJ partners, including community-based organizations and health centers, provided in-person one-on-one assistance to those who needed help navigating the enrollment process or required assistance in Asian, Pacific Islander and other languages. AHJ partners will be active in the upcoming third enrollment period.