Urging the AAPI Community to #GetCovered by March 31

AAPI Enrollment Summit Atlanta, GA

A trained assistor helps a community member sign up for health coverage at an AAPI enrollment summit in Atlanta, Georgia, March 18, 2014. (by the Center for Pan Asian Community Services)

Did you know that 8 out of 10 Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders may be eligible for financial assistance through the Health Insurance Marketplace?*

Given the importance of having health insurance within the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community, last week the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (WHIAAPI), White House Office of Public Engagement, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and many AAPI community leaders held an AAPI Enrollment Week of Action.

In a final push, we’re working to make sure our community is well informed about the Affordable Care Act and enrolls in the Health Insurance Marketplace before the deadline on March 31, 2014. If you do not have health insurance and don’t enroll by March 31, you may not be able to get health insurance again until next year. Just call 1-800-318-2596 or visit HealthCare.gov to sign up. 

AAPI community leaders and members have been sharing their own stories. Here are some examples of advocates encouraging our communities to #GetCovered:

MomsRising: Healthcare.gov Answered My PrayersMaly Xiong, Hmong American entrepreneur and mother of six

“Living in the one of the richest countries in the world without health coverage can be very stressful. Every night I prayed that my children wouldn’t get sick because we did not have health insurance. I would tell my children not to run around too much to avoid getting injured because we did not have health insurance.  When my children participated in school sports, I told them not to play too hard for fear that they might get injured and I wouldn’t have the money to pay for the medical bills. Can you imagine, as a mother, telling your children not to play?...Receiving health insurance has been a blessing.”

AsianWeek: Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders to Benefit from the Affordable Care Act—Dr. Howard K. Koh, Assistant Secretary for Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

“As a physician for over 30 years, I have seen the patient benefits of having health insurance as well as the problems of lacking it. Nearly one in five Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) does not have health insurance. Without insurance, AAPIs may have a harder time accessing critical health care, putting them at greater risk of chronic and preventable diseases, such a hepatitis B and certain cancers.”

Also in: Korea Times

Korea Daily: Korean Americans to Benefit from the Affordable Care ActDr. Howard K. Koh, Assistant Secretary for Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

“For the Korean American community, one in three individuals lacks health insurance. In addition, Korean Americans are at risk for many preventable diseases, such as stomach and liver cancer. The good news is that the Affordable Care Act provides Korean Americans new options for affordable health coverage that covers a range of benefits, including important preventive services with no out-of-pocket costs for millions of Americans.”

한인 커뮤니티에는 3 1명이 건강보험이 없다. 반면 한인들은 위암과 간암 예방이 가능한 질병에 걸릴 위험이 높다. 반갑게도 오바마케어(Affordable Care Act) 건강보험법은 이러한 한인들에게 저렴한 가격으로 다양한 의료혜택을 받을 있게 하는 옵션을 제공하고 있다.”

Also in: KoreAm

NW Asian Weekly: Chinese Americans to Benefit from the Affordable Care ActDaphne Kwok, Chair of the President’s Advisory Commission on AAPIs

“Betty Li, a young Chinese American woman from Philadelphia, PA is one of them. She stopped by her neighborhood community-based organization, Southeast Asian Mutual Assistance Associations Coalition (SEAMAAC) in south Philadelphia after hearing that she could receive enrollment assistance there. Betty works at a small business that doesn’t offer health insurance so both her husband and she have been living without coverage. SEAMAAC, a certified navigator, helped her apply for and enroll in a marketplace plan for both her husband and herself. They will now pay less than a dollar a month for their coverage.”

India Journal: Indian-Americans to Benefit from the Affordable Care Act—Kiran Ahuja, Executive Director of WHIAAPI, and Gautam Raghavan, Advisor at the White House Office of Public Engagement

“Ms. Patel from Phoenix, Arizona, is one of them. She had previously been denied private health insurance because she had a pre-existing health condition. When she fell and had to go to the hospital for care, she ended up with a bill of over $1000. After the Affordable Care Act went into effect, she went to Asian Pacific Community in Action (APCA) to get help from a certified navigator to enroll in the Health Insurance Marketplace. With APCA’s in-person and assistance available in Hindi, she learned that she now qualified for health insurance through the expansion of Medicaid. Now she has peace of mind and a renewed hope for the future.”

Asian Journal: Getting to the Heart of the Communities in Nevada to Help AAPIs #GetCoveredRozita Lee, Member of the President’s Advisory Commission on AAPIs and certified navigator

“One of my most memorable successes was with a group of Bhutanese refugees who had been in Nevada for several years and were green card holders and permanent residents, but living without health insurance. With interpreters, our team provided assistance in Dzongkha, the official Bhutanese language, helping them successfully enroll in NevadaHealthLink for health insurance. Speaking in a person's language helps them open up and feel comfortable. It was gratifying to see their faces when they realized that they can be insured. To see that sigh of relief and the smile on their faces, knowing that we have helped alleviate their concerns about healthcare, is worth all the time and energy we dedicate to outreach and enrollment.”

Pakistan Link: Pakistani Americans to Benefit from the Affordable Care Act—Dilawar Syed, Member of the President’s Advisory Commission on AAPIs

“More than 22 percent of Pakistani Americans do not have health insurance, a rate much higher than the national average. That’s why the Affordable Care Act is so important to the Pakistani American community. It will help those without health insurance get affordable coverage and provides new benefits and protections for millions of Americans, including Pakistani Americans.”

Viet Bao Daily: Vietnamese Americans to Benefit from the Affordable Care Act—Dr. Tung Nguyen, Member of the President’s Advisory Commission on AAPIs

“The good news is that the Affordable Care Act provides Vietnamese Americans new options for affordable health coverage that covers a range of benefits, including important preventive services with no out-of-pocket costs for millions of Americans, including the Vietnamese American community. Early cancer screenings and smoking cessation interventions are just some of the free preventive services provided by health plans through the Health Insurance Marketplace.”

“Luật Cải Tổ Y Tế sẽ giúp người Mỹ gốc Việt có được bảo hiểm với giá phải chăng và nhiều sự lựa chọn bao gồm những dịch vụ phòng bệnh mà không phải trả phí trực tiếp. Dò tìm ung thư sớm và can thiệp cai thuốc lá là một số các dịch vụ phòng ngừa miễn phí được cung cấp bởi các chương trình bảo hiểm y tế thông qua Thị trường bảo hiểm y tế.

Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, nearly 2 million uninsured AAPIs now have the ability to get health coverage. We also applaud our community partners in Illinois, Minnesota, New York, and Georgia for holding enrollment summits during the Week of Action. These summits were instrumental in helping hundreds of AAPIs receive in-person assistance, in 17 different languages, and sign up for health insurance. However, there is still a lot more work that needs to be done in the final days left, so spread the word to our neighbors and communities by March 31!

If you or someone you care about is uninsured, it’s not too late to sign up for quality, affordable coverage – but you’ll want to act today and before March 31. If you don’t enroll by March 31, you may not be able to get health insurance again until next year.

Sign up today online at HealthCare.gov; over the phone with help available in 150 languages at the 24/7 call center at 1-800-318-2596; or directly through an issuer, agent, or broker. You can also find in-person assistance in your community at localhelp.healthcare.gov.

* This fact can be found in the report released by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on March 18, 2014.

Kiran Ahuja is Executive Director of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

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