By Juliet Bui
WASHINGTON, D.C. (Feb. 4, 2014) — “The bottom line is I’m going to need you, and the country needs you. And a lot of your friends and peers, they may not know that they need you, but if something happens somewhere down the road where they really need to get to a hospital or a doctor, the fact that you have talked to them and gotten them involved is going to make all the difference in the world.” — President Obama at the Affordable Care Act Youth Summit, Dec. 4, 2013
An estimated two million uninsured Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are eligible for health insurance coverage thanks to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) – but these individuals won’t gain access to affordable health care unless they know about the benefits of the ACA and how to enroll for coverage.
Since open enrollment kicked off on October 1, the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders has continued efforts to reach and engage the AAPI community. Community members have stepped up across the nation to lead efforts to spread the word about the ACA and help fellow AAPIs with enrollment.
We recently heard about a Laotian family who came to America as refugees, with the hope of improving their lives. For 30 years, the father worked at the same job to provide for his family, but his children have met challenges in the job market. His daughter completed college, but has to make ends meet with a combination of temporary and factory jobs, none of which provide insurance. His son hasn’t been able to find a steady job. Both faced mounting medical bills, but were previously denied for Medicaid because their minimal incomes were considered too high.
Thanks to the ACA, the family now has access to essential health care they couldn’t afford before. Because they live in Illinois—a state that expanded its Medicaid program—they now qualify for Medicaid.
While many AAPIs, like this family, are benefitting from the ACA, we don’t hear about it enough. Do you have a story of your own to share? Maybe you’ve signed up for coverage or helped someone enroll, or maybe you’ve talked to your friends, family or coworkers about how the ACA can help them – let us know. Send your name, location, and story to us at [email protected] Sharing your #GetCovered story could help other people learn about why it’s important to get health insurance coverage and how to do it.
If you need health insurance coverage, check out your options for quality, affordable coverage and sign up by visiting HealthCare.gov, by calling 1-800-318-2596, or find someone who can help you in person at localhelp.hhs.gov.
Note: Stories submitted to WHIAAPI may be treated as public information. For example, the stories, along with your name, may be featured on WhiteHouse.gov and HHS.gov and posted on White House and HHS social media channels. We may also provide them to national leaders, members of the press or other individuals outside of the federal government.
Juliet Bui is Policy Advisor on Health at the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.