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Latino Outreach Stepped Up As ACA Open-Enrollment Deadline Nears

PHOTO: A Spanish-language version of the www.healthcare.gov website is just one of many tools aimed at ensuring the Latino community takes advantage of opportunities available through the Affordable Care Act. Image courtesy of www.cuidadodesalud.gov
PHOTO: A Spanish-language version of the www.healthcare.gov website is just one of many tools aimed at ensuring the Latino community takes advantage of opportunities available through the Affordable Care Act. Image courtesy of www.cuidadodesalud.gov
February 17, 2014

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - With just about six weeks to go in the open-enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act, the push is on to reach the Latino community, which officials say has traditionally not had widespread access to affordable health insurance.

According to Mayra Alvarez, associate director for the Office of Minority Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the latest study finds that eight in ten uninsured Latinos can now get a break on the cost of insurance.

"So it really sends a strong message to the Latino community that an overwhelming majority would quality for some form of financial assistance in the form of tax credits to help pay for private coverage, or Medicaid, or CHIP," she said.

According to HHS, in Missouri there are 172,000 Latinos who may be eligible for insurance coverage, 43,000 of whom, a quarter, are currently uninsured.

Alvarez said the Department has teamed up with local Latino groups, specially-trained community assisters, churches, schools and other organizations to help spread the word about what she called a historic opportunity for Latinos to address longstanding inequities in access to health care.

"Survey after survey tells us that the Latino community wants to receive information from trusted sources, and two of those most trusted sources are, one, Spanish-language media, and two, people in their community," she said.

Open enrollment for the Affordable Care Act runs through March 31, and can be completed online in both English and Spanish.

Enrollment information in English is at HealthCare.gov and in Spanish at CuidadoDeSalud.gov.

Mona Shand, Public News Service - MO