By Rafael López, Commissioner, Administration on Children, Youth, and Families
For many people, January is a time to make resolutions and set goals for a healthier New Year. January 2016 is an especially important month. Open enrollment for the Health Insurance Marketplace ends on January 31, 2016. Since open enrollment began on November 1, over 8.6 million people have signed up for affordable health care coverage just this year and it is estimated that about 17.6 million uninsured people have gained health insurance since the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Of them, over 4 million Latinos (ages 18-64) gained health insurance and the uninsured rate for the Latino community dropped 12.3 percentage points. This isn’t just good news for the Latino community, it is good news for our country.
Because of ACA, millions of insured Latinos now have access to preventative services like mammograms, cervical cancer screenings, or flu shots. Even more Latinos can benefit from affordable health care coverage. Key findings from the Department of Health and Human Services show that about 19 percent of Latinos are still eligible for a Qualified Health Plan (QHP) through the Health Insurance Marketplace. Of those eligible, 10.6 percent are males. Concerned about cost? Many people found coverage for less than $50 a month and nearly 7 in 10 found coverage for less than $100.
I know what it is like to avoid seeking medical help when you most need it because you are worried about how you are going to pay the bills or whether you’ll have enough money for medicine and follow up treatment. I know this because there were times throughout my life when I didn’t have health insurance, especially as a young adult. Access to affordable health insurance would have made an enormous difference in my life. Now, we all have greater access to health insurance since the passage of ACA. Though many are benefiting from ACA, too many in the Latino community remain uninsured. Are you one of them? If so, you can change that and make a healthy start to 2016. You have until January 15, 2016 to enroll in or change plans for 2016 health insurance starting on February 1, 2016. Sure, talk to the trusted voices in your life- friends and family — but don’t wait to get the coverage you need to ensure a healthy 2016. Feliz año!
To learn more about Open Enrollment, visit The Affordable Care Act. Don’t wait until the Jan. 31st deadline.
Take advantage of what we have to offer. We leverage grantee networks and program providers to expand outreach and enrollment. Please share information for Latinos about ACA and other topics in our national Hispanic e-newsletter Infórmate.
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