Health Care Blog
- Posted byon March 25, 2014 at 11:18 AM EST
For the past eight years, Maly Xiong, a Hmong-American entrepreneur and single mom, was uninsured because she could not afford health insurance. Every night she prayed that her children wouldn’t get sick because they did not have health insurance. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, Maly was able to finally sign up for health insurance. Maly and her six children are now insured, healthy, and free from worry. “Getting covered has been a blessing,” she said.
Stories such as Maly’s make the March 31 Affordable Care Act open enrollment deadline even more critical for the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) community to take action and get AAPIs enrolled in health coverage.
This is exactly what the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (WHIAAPI), the White House Office of Public Engagement, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), along with many passionate community leaders, did during the AAPI Enrollment Week of Action last week. Through collaboration between federal agencies and AAPI community leaders, the message was clear: #GetCovered.
Kicking off the week, HHS released a report that announced eight out of 10 uninsured Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders may be eligible for financial assistance in the Health Insurance Marketplace. The White House also released a new infographic about AAPIs and the ACA:
During the week, I was honored to participate in a community conference call with Vice President Joe Biden to personally thank the many Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islanders leaders from national, state, and local community organizations who are working hard to educate the AAPI community about the importance of the ACA.
I was also excited to participate in a Google+ Hangout with actor Maulik Pancholy; Meena Seshamani, Deputy Director of the HHS Office of Health Reform; and Gautam Raghavan, Advisor for the White House Office on Public Engagement. We highlighted the important benefits of signing up for the Health Insurance Marketplace:
During AAPI Enrollment Week of Action, we re-released the White House Initiative on Asian American and Pacific Islanders’ series of in-language Google+ Hangouts on the Affordable Care Act. This series included Google+ Hangouts in Korean, Vietnamese, and Chinese (Mandarin).
And people across the country, including celebrities and community leaders, helped get the word out both on the ground and online.
— Michelle Kwan (@MichelleWKwan) March 20, 2014
— George Takei (@GeorgeTakei) March 16, 2014
— Maulik Pancholy (@MaulikPancholy) March 19, 2014
Community organizations in Georgia, Illinois, Minnesota, and New York hosted enrollment events to walk individuals through the process of signing up for health coverage. For example, in Atlanta, Georgia, the Center for Pan Asian Community Services held an AAPI Enrollment Summit with over 40 assistors who spoke 16 languages available to provide in-person and in-language enrollment assistance for local community members.
I would like to thank every individual who has helped with outreach and enrollment efforts in your neighborhoods and communities. Our simple actions are part of a larger movement for the overall health and well-being of the AAPI community.
With only a few days left of open enrollment, please continue to direct members of the community to HealthCare.gov and to the 24/7 call center, available in over 150 languages, at 1-800-318-2596.
Dr. Howard K. Koh is Assistant Secretary for Health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
- Posted byon March 24, 2014 at 3:32 PM EST
Today is the National Tribal Day of Action for Affordable Care Act Enrollment. Over 65 events are being hosted in tribal communities across the nation and President Obama wants to ensure that every American Indian and Alaska Native has the information they need to take advantage of new health care options available under the health care law.
The new health care law is another way the federal government is honoring its trust responsibility and obligations to Tribes. Ensuring that additional health care options are available for all Native Americans is simply another step in our ongoing efforts to promote well-being and economic prosperity in Indian Country.
Many Native Americans currently use an Indian Health Service (IHS) or tribal health facility and that is not changing. But private health insurance offers new protections. Taking advantage of the new health insurance options provided by the Affordable Care Act can give American Indian and Alaska Native families the peace of mind of knowing they have comprehensive health insurance, even outside of the IHS system.
Many American Indians and Alaska Natives who have signed up for health insurance coverage report that they were surprised at just how affordable it can be to get covered. Many are eligible for assistance to lower or even eliminate their monthly insurance premiums. And, if you’re a member of a federally recognized Tribe and you choose to buy a private health insurance plan through the Health Insurance Marketplace, you may not have to pay any out-of-pocket costs like co-pays or deductibles. Many American Indian and Alaska Native families are also finding that they are now eligible for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program. Overall, this can add up to more reliable and more comprehensive health care at little to no cost.
Today, you can visit a tribal health care enrollment event from Oklahoma to Alaska. Step into the Alaska Native Medical Center for an event hosted by the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium or visit Rapid City Regional Hospital where the Great Plains Tribal Chairman’s Health Board staff can walk you through the enrollment process. Across the country tribal communities and urban Indian organizations are partnering to help American Indians and Alaska Natives get covered.
But you need to act to ensure that you and your family fully benefit from the new health care law. Every American Indian and Alaska Native should learn more about how the Affordable Care Act can benefit them as soon as possible. The best way to review your options is to go to HealthCare.gov. You can also visit your local IHS or tribal clinic, or you can call 1-800-318-2596.
David Agnew is the White House Director of Intergovernmental Affairs
- Posted byon March 24, 2014 at 1:48 PM EST
Oregon-based engineer David Perry playing an open-source 3D printable electronic violin.When the Affordable Care Act became law, David knew that it would be even easier for him to pursue his dream. He knew the health insurance marketplaces would be open, and he could access quality and affordable health care without being tied to an employer. So, starting April 1st, David will have more time to develop great ideas and help encourage everyone to “make”. David recently enrolled through the Marketplaces, and with the security of affordable, quality health coverage, he has decided to begin working full-time for the startup he founded, OpenFab PDX, which focuses on low-cost digital design and manufacturing tools.As part of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy’s #GeeksGetCovered, effort we’ll be sharing stories about what access to affordable, quality healthcare means to geeks across America.I recently caught up with David, founder of OpenFabPDX, who shared his story with us on Twitter through @WhiteHouseOSTP’s recently launched #GeeksGetCovered effort:
- Posted byon March 24, 2014 at 12:33 PM EST
Today, President Obama answered questions on Quora, a leading question-and-answer website, about Affordable Care Act enrollment and how the law affects young people across America.
The deadline to enroll for health care coverage for this year is March 31 — only seven days from now — so if you're not covered yet, sign up today at HealthCare.gov. And if you do have health insurance, make sure to tell your friends, family, and co-workers why they need to get covered. Visit WH.gov/GetCovered for tips on how to spread the word.
Read the President's responses to Quora users' questions below.
A: First of all, if you still need to sign up for health insurance, you should go to HealthCare.gov right now and sign up for coverage. You've got just seven days left until the March 31st deadline. It’s last call for 2014 if you want to be covered this year.
Now, it's no secret to anyone that we had some issues with the website at launch. But that was months ago. Thanks to a team of experts who worked around the clock to get the site working back then, response times on HealthCare.gov are faster than ever. Most young people are eligible for financial help to make health insurance more affordable. And more than 5 million people have already signed up for coverage -- with tens of thousands more signing up every day.
- Posted byon March 21, 2014 at 5:30 PM EST
This week, the President celebrated St. Patrick's day alongside the Prime Minister of Ireland, continued to work toward a diplomatic resolution to the conflict in Ukraine, hosted Palestinian President Abbas, awarded 24 Medals of Honor, and traveled to Florida to speak on the importance of supporting working families.
- Posted byon March 21, 2014 at 6:50 AM EST
Last week, Vice President Biden and Health and Human Services Secretary Sebelius spoke directly to tribal leaders and community members on the benefits of the Affordable Care Act for American Indians and Alaska Natives. The Vice President and the Secretary encouraged action from tribal leaders and community members, to get them, their friends, and their relatives enrolled! March 24th is the National Tribal Day of Action on Affordable Care Act enrollment - a perfect opportunity for Indian Country to rally with community partners in health to organize an Affordable Care Act enrollment event. Please join us in this effort to get covered with quality, reliable, and affordable health care insurance before March 31st!
If you’re a member of a federally-recognized tribe and under a certain income level, you might qualify to pay reduced or no costs for a private health care policy, including low or zero out-of-pocket costs. Also, you can check to see if your state has expanded Medicaid, as you might now qualify!
You can enroll in a healthcare plan on the healthcare marketplace at www.healthcare.gov, over the phone, or by mail. And remember, even if you have a private health insurance plan, you can continue to use Indian Health Service or you can explore other options for care. Having a private health insurance plan is a way to ensure that you will receive quality, reliable health care coverage no matter when you get sick. Tell your family and friends to enroll today!
For more information on how the Affordable Care Act impacts Indian Country, go to: http://www.ihs.gov/aca/
Raina Thiele is an Associate Director in the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs