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Florida Tops Nation in Obamacare Signups

PHOTO: At health fairs and other events, groups are ramping up bilingual efforts to assist uninsured Latinos in Florida in signing up for health insurance before this year's Feb. 15 enrollment deadline. Photo credit: Luigi Novi/Wikimedia Commons
PHOTO: At health fairs and other events, groups are ramping up bilingual efforts to assist uninsured Latinos in Florida in signing up for health insurance before this year's Feb. 15 enrollment deadline. Photo credit: Luigi Novi/Wikimedia Commons
January 19, 2015

MIAMI, Fla. - Since the latest enrollment period began in November, nearly 1.2 million Floridians have signed up for health insurance plans through the Affordable Care Act or "Obamacare." Florida's numbers are the largest of any of the 37 states using federally-run health exchanges.

But there's a catch, according to Monica Rodrigues-Smith, Latino communications director with the South Florida chapter of Enroll America, a nonprofit that's leading efforts to get people insured. She says research shows Latinos are more likely than other ethnic groups to be uninsured, because of language barriers, misinformation and concerns about cost.

"The Latino community is one of the largest groups in America to go without healthcare coverage," says Rodrigues-Smith. "We will continue to go out into the Latino community and let them know we do have Spanish-speaking representatives to help them through the process and that financial assistance is available."

Nationally, some progress is being made. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports 2.6 million Hispanic Americans between ages 18 and 64 have signed up for Obamacare in the past year alone.

Rodrigues-Smith points out there are plenty more people who don't have health insurance with less than a month left to sign up.

"It's great news that nearly 1.2 million Floridians have accessed quality, affordable care," she says. "However, there are still hundreds of thousands of Floridians that need access to affordable, quality care."

She says Enroll America will ramp up its efforts, particularly in the Latino community, before the current enrollment period ends on Feb. 15.

Phil Latzman, Public News Service - FL