By Essey Workie, Regional Administrator, Region III (Philadelphia)
Betty Li, a young woman from Philadelphia just got covered.
On her way to work one Saturday morning, Betty stopped by the community-based organization in her South Philly neighborhood called the Southeast Asian Mutual Assistance Associations Coalition (SEAMAAC). SEMAAC and the ACF Region III Office hosted an enrollment event that day. Betty and 42 other people signed up to get help right there in the neighborhood.
It was Betty’s first time at SEMAAC. She came because one of her work-friends told her “SEAMAAC will help you get covered." Her friend knew that Betty was nervous about not having health insurance. Betty explained, “When I was pregnant, I could go to the clinic. But now I don’t have a doctor. Anyway, I’m really afraid to go to the doctor without insurance.”
Betty has a good job, but it doesn’t offer health insurance. “It’s a small company," she says, “but me and my husband still need health insurance." That’s why she took her friend’s advice to go to SEAMAAC. And it was worth it. Betty and her husband just got covered. Their health insurance plan begins on April 1, 2014. They will pay less than a dollar a month for the coverage.
Betty’s smile says it all, “Now I don’t have to worry. I’m so happy. I’m going to tell my friends, my family, just everybody.” Getting covered means that Betty can spend her time thinking about other things. Getting sick no longer means financial trouble.
Twenty-one other people got covered during this enrollment event. Another 15 people started the application process. Imagine the number of lives that are changing for the better across the country!
Essey Workie is the Regional Administrator and principal representative for the Administration for Children and Families, Region III in Philadelphia, Pa. The Region comprises six states: Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia. Ms. Workie provides executive leadership and direction to ensure coordination and integration of activities across Head Start, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, child welfare, child care, child support, refugee resettlement and other programs for underserved populations in these states. She also leads key ACF initiatives including extending affordable coverage to the uninsured, promoting responsible fatherhood, preventing human trafficking and engaging community and faith-based partnerships