WASHINGTON, D.C. — Starting Oct. 1, millions of Americans across the country — for many of whom health insurance was just a dream before health reform — will be able to compare, shop for and enroll in coverage they can afford in the new Health Insurance Marketplace.
Despite the government shutdown, the Open Enrollment Period will start on Oct. 1 and the Marketplace will be open.
To ensure that Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders fully understand their health insurance options, the Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum (APIAHF), Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations (AAPCHO), Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Los Angeles (Advancing Justice-LA), and Asian Americans Advancing Justice-AAJC (Advancing Justice-AAJC) are embarking on a national education and outreach plan designed to maximize enrollment for the nation’s fastest growing groups.
“We now have a real opportunity to narrow the health care gap,” said Kathy Ko Chin, president and CEO of APIAHF. “But health reform will only be as successful as our outreach efforts, which is why our aggressive national and state strategy is so needed. Together with our partners, we are leveraging our networks across the country to ensure that Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders (AAs and NHPIs) know about their coverage options and have the tools they need to enroll.”
“We are thrilled to be a part of this collaborative effort to increase health care coverage for AAs and NHPIs, especially those that typically do not have access to health care,” said Jeffrey Caballero, executive director of AAPCHO. “The ACA has the potential to help reduce health disparities within our communities, as it allows AAs and NHPIs to access preventive health care that was not available to them prior to the health reform law.”
As part of the plan, national organizations are equipping local and state-level entities with coordinated and translated materials targeting AA and NHPI segments most in need of resources, including those who do not speak English or do not speak English very well, those living in mixed immigration status families, small business owners and employees and young people applying for coverage for the first time.
“It is important to note that individuals who are limited English proficient actually have a right to meaningful access to the new health programs established under the ACA,” said Mee Moua, president and executive director of Advancing Justice-AAJC. “This is an issue about equal access. In addition to the translated materials that our collaborative is facilitating, we will be making sure insurance companies, state agencies and consumer assistance programs that are a part of the new Marketplace are providing adequate language assistance services.”
“We have been conducting outreach and education activities about the ACA to our communities in California since its passage,” said Stewart Kwoh, president and CEO of Advancing Justice-Los Angeles. “Close to 700,000 eligible AAs and NHPIs in California will gain coverage through expanded Medi-Cal, California’s Medicaid program, or Covered California, the state Marketplace.”
Joining the national strategy are more than 20 community-based organizations in 16 states: Arizona, California, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Utah and Washington. For more information on the national strategy and health reform resources available in English and Asian and Pacific Islander languages, please visit www.apiahf.org.
Visit www.healthcare.gov for more information about the Marketplace and how to enroll.