UnidosUS Affiliates Are Transforming the Lives of Rural Hispanic Families Thanks to the ACA

MHP Salud and Su Clínica are on the front lines helping rural Texas communities get covered during the Open Enrollment period.

By David Castro, Associate Director, Web and Editorial Content, UnidosUS

Su Clínica | Open Enrollment | Affordable Care ActThe Affordable Care Act (ACA) has not only changed the lives of individuals. It has transformed entire communities.

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It’s Time to Get Covered!


The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has made it possible for 20 million more Americans, including more than four million Latinos, to get health coverage since it was implemented in 2013.

Open enrollment under the ACA is finally here! It is important for you and your family to sign up for health insurance during this open enrollment period, which begins Tuesday, November 1 and runs through January 31, 2017. You can enroll in coverage by calling (800) 318-2596 or by visiting healthcare.gov or cuidadodesalud.gov.

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How to Make the ACA Work for Latino Communities

The third open enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is well underway. While Latinos still lag behind other groups when it comes health coverage, we are seeing signs of progress as more than four million Latinos have gained coverage since the law was implemented. We’re working to build off those gains and ensure the benefits of the law reach as many in our community as possible. To talk about these efforts, and how we can get more Latinos insured, NCLR hosted a national conference call with our Affiliate Network featuring U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Sylvia Mathews Burwell. The call also focused on the overall impact of the ACA on the Latino community.

You can listen to the entire call below:

The following are remarks as prepared for delivery, which NCLR President and CEO Janet Murguía made at the opening of the call.

Good afternoon, buenas tardes, and thank you all for joining today’s call.

Before I begin, I want to thank the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Sylvia Mathews Burwell, for joining us today to discuss a very important and timely issue for our community: the Affordable Care Act and its impact on the Latino community. We’re delighted to have you.

Also joining me are two members of my health team, Rita Carreon, Deputy Vice President of Health, and Steven Lopez, Manager of NCLR’s Health Policy Project.

As the largest civil rights and advocacy organization in the nation working to improve the lives of Hispanic Americans, the National Council of La Raza represents the most uninsured population in the country.

As part of our larger mission to reduce disparities and advance equity, NCLR has long worked to increase the number of individuals with affordable and accessible quality health insurance coverage and care.

As all of us know, the value of health insurance goes beyond better health. We know having access to the basic necessity of good health care improves the lives of people overall. It provides greater financial and social stability to families. It also markedly improves the educational prospects and chances for success later on in life for children. In short, health care is a critical building block of a better life.

All these reasons are why NCLR became deeply involved to make the ACA a reality.

From working with Congress to shape the bill and supporting its eventual passage to commenting during the regulatory period and now executing outreach and enrollment efforts to make sure the promise of the ACA reaches as many Americans as possible, NCLR has been engaged from soup to nuts.

More than four million Latinos have gained coverage since the ACA was implemented in 2010. While we’re certainly encouraged by this progress, we know now is not the time to let up. All of us must keep on working together to bring down the still too-high uninsured rates for Latinos, who are now one in six Americans, one in four Americans under 18, and will represent nearly one-third of the U.S. workforce by 2050.

For NCLR, this has involved—and will continue to involve—an extensive effort across our organization to engage, educate, and enroll Latinos across the country. Through our comprehensive ACA campaign, we will continue to leverage NCLR policy, programs, and communications work and the tools available to us to address enrollment barriers facing Latino and immigrant communities, provide culturally and linguistically appropriate education and outreach materials, and work through the media—particularly Spanish-language media—to promote ACA enrollment and get accurate information out to the community.

And we will continue to emphasize that while these new insurance options are critically important, the benefits of the ACA go beyond that. With new consumer protections and the availability of free preventive services, the ACA has enhanced the value of insurance and health care for millions of Americans.

And I’m proud to say that so many of our Affiliate Network of nearly 300 community organizations in 41 states, DC, and Puerto Rico have been part of this effort.

Our Affiliates represent some of the largest and most effective health care providers to our community in the nation. In fact, one of every two of our Affiliates is involved in health-related work. These are the organizations on the front lines in our community and they are the best possible vehicles to reach Hispanics in this country.

Several of these organizations in places like Texas, Florida, California, Pennsylvania, Louisiana, Illinois, and right here in D.C. have been involved in ACA outreach and enrollment efforts, providing in-person enrollment assistance, the type of face-to-face resource our community values and has proven effective in getting our families enrolled.

And not only are they providing assistance in a culturally and linguistically appropriate manner, they are also working with and reaching some of the most vulnerable and hard-to-reach communities in our country.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve had the opportunity to travel across the country to meet with our Affiliates and hear directly from them on a range of issues impacting the community, including the ACA.

It’s clear that they have their finger on the pulse of how the law is playing out and we will continue to share this insight with HHS as the agency works to create as optimal a consumer experience as possible for all who are eligible.

As we look at the current open enrollment period and further down the road ahead, we know that the Latino community will continue to be key to the success of the ACA.

All current and future outreach and enrollment strategies must have Hispanics in mind, particularly those who are limited English proficient and those who live in mixed-status households.

Before I close, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention how critically important Medicaid expansion is for our community.

It’s shameful and inexcusable that millions of low-income Americans, including Latinos, are shut out of an opportunity for meaningful coverage because state leaders have refused to do what’s right for their most vulnerable residents and accept federal dollars to expand Medicaid.

NCLR has been engaged in advocacy efforts in Texas and Florida in particular and we will continue our push for expansion.

In closing, we know the ACA holds great promise for all Americans, including Latinos, and NCLR looks forward to the opportunities ahead to build on the gains and increase the number of individuals who get covered, stay covered, and effectively use that coverage.

And now it is my pleasure to introduce HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell. Secretary Burwell, thank you for joining us today and for your leadership. We value the strong partnership we have had with you and your team both as it relates to the ACA, as well as other initiatives to advance a shared goal of improving the health of the Latino community and this great nation.

Open enrollment for ACA ends January 31, 2016, but for those wanting coverage that begins on January 1, you’ll need to enroll by December 15, 2015. Go to healthcare.gov or cuidadodesalud.gov to get started!

Five Things Immigrant and Mixed-Status Families Should Know about Enrolling in the ACA

AKA-RegistrationAs open enrollment under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) gets underway, we know there are people eligible for coverage who remain uninsured and are looking for information and resources to understand their options and get covered.

Immigrants and those living in mixed-status families face unique circumstances and may need additional guidance on how to get coverage for themselves and their loved ones. The good news is that there are resources available to help, and if you or someone you know faced challenges when trying to enroll, we encourage you to return as improvements have been made to the process. Enrollment is now open at healthcare.gov and cuidadodesalud.gov through January 31, 2016.

Here are five things immigrant and mixed-status families—and those assisting them—should know about enrolling in coverage under the ACA:

  1. Immigration information provided on the health application will be used only to verify eligibility for coverage. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has stated it will not use this information for immigration enforcement purposes.
  1. Signing up for insurance through the ACA, Medicaid, or Children’s Health Insurance Program does not make someone a “public charge.” The one exception is for people receiving long-term care in an institution at government expense.
  1. While those without an eligible immigration status cannot get coverage through the ACA, they can apply on behalf of their eligible dependents. An undocumented parent, for example, can apply on behalf of an eligible child. Those who are not applying for coverage for themselves will not be asked if they have an eligible immigration status.
  1. A variety of immigration documents can be used to verify immigration status on the health application. Having this information readily available will help the enrollment process.
  1. Free, in-person assistance is available to help those applying. For information on assistance in your area, visit healthcare.gov or call 1-800-318-2596.

For coverage that begins on January 1, the deadline to enroll is December 15. The opportunity to get covered, however, continues through January 31, 2016. About four million Latinos have already gained health insurance under the ACA—we urge everyone who is eligible to apply!

Open Enrollment is Here!

AKA-RegistrationOpen Enrollment under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is finally here! You can sign up for health coverage for 2016 at www.healthcare.gov or www.cuidadodesalud.gov from now through January 31, 2016.

Here are some resources to help you choose the right coverage for you and your family.

  1. Understanding health insurance can be tricky, even if you previously had coverage. It’s important to learn about the different aspects of health insurance so you can choose the plan that best fits your needs. Check out this Health Insurance Basics guide for key terms that you need to know. It’s also available in Spanish.
  2. The next step to making sure you choose the right plan for you and your family is to learn about your options for coverage. This guide, available in both English and Spanish, can help you assess your options. Additional information on how to compare health plans, shop for coverage, and choose the best health insurance plan for you is available through the Health Insurance Marketplace.
  3. Free in-person enrollment assistance is available to help answer your questions about the process and help you enroll. To find local help, visit localhelp.healthcare.gov or call 1-800-318-2596.

For more resources and information about how you can get health coverage in 2016, please visit healthcare.gov.

Get Ready to Get Covered!

Four million Latinos have purchased health insurance through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) since the law’s implementation. Join them by signing up for health coverage so you, too, can get quality affordable health coverage.

IMG_1169This Sunday, November 1 is the start of the third ACA open enrollment period. Sign up for coverage by January 31, 2016 by calling 1-800-318-2596 or visiting www.healthcare.gov or www.cuidadodesalud.gov. Whether you are renewing coverage or getting health insurance for the first time, take the time now to learn about your options and the financial help that may be available.

Here’s how you can get ready to get covered:

  1. Understand your options and choose the health plan that best meets your needs. Check out the benefits and costs of available plans at healthcare.gov or www.cuidadodesalud.gov. You can also find out if you and your children are eligible for free or low-cost coverage through Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
  1. Gather key documents and information before you apply. Several documents—such as a permanent resident card (or green card), a reentry permit or an employment authorization card—can be used to prove immigration status on the health application.
  1. Determine who in your household is applying for coverage. Have information ready for each person, including everyone’s home and mailing addresses. Make a general estimate of your income for the coming year to get an idea of the savings for which you might qualify.
  1. Get one-on-one help. Free local, in-person assistance is available to answer your questions and help you enroll in a health plan. To find out where you can get assistance in your area, call 1-800-318-2596 or visit healthcare.gov.
  1. If you do not have an eligible immigration status and do not qualify for coverage, you can apply on behalf of your eligible dependents. An ineligible parent, for example, can apply on behalf of an eligible child.

Enroll in a health plan by January 31, 2016. Share this information with your family and friends and encourage them to get covered, too! Be prepared and understand your options so you can find the best health care plan for you and your loved ones.

For more information, please visit www.nclr.org/issues/Health/coverage-and-care. NCLR will continue bringing you news and updates on getting covered.

What You Need to Get Covered

Open enrollment season for coverage that starts in January closes Dec. 15. That’s just one week away! Alejandra Gepp, director of NCLR’s Institute for Hispanic Health, has some helpful tips for what you need to know to sign up.

It’s Time to Sign Up for Health Insurance!

11 13 14 White House ACADefinitions_openEntrollment_new

Did you know that almost one in three Latinos are uninsured? Easier access to health insurance is a important for all Americans, but it is especially a top priority at NCLR. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is a historic opportunity for Latinos in this country to get covered and we are making it our goal to help them in doing so.

Through healthcare.gov, you can review low-cost health insurance plans to find one that best suits your needs and budget. Millions of Americans will qualify to receive financial help in their insurance coverage. However, with several options to choose from, it might be overwhelming or confusing. Did you also know that there is FREE in-person help to aid you in finding the perfect plan? They are dedicated to helping you narrow your search and find the best-suited coverage plan for YOU.

There are several enrollment events across the nation and near you! Latinos stand to benefit the most through the ACA so make sure you and your loved ones don’t miss out. Want to learn more and get enrolled? Check out one of these enrollment events tomorrow, November 15, and help spread the word by inviting all your friends, family, neighbors, and colleagues to take advantage of this opportunity.

Below is a list of events happening all over the country:

Saturday, November 15th 2014. 

Apache Junction, AZ.
Apache Junction Public Library
1177 N Idaho Road
Apache Junction, AZ 85119
10:00 am – 2:00 pm

Tucson, AZ.
TMC El Dorado Health Campus
1400 N. Wilmot Road
Tucson, AZ 85712
9:00 am – 4:00 pm

HOPE, Inc.
1200 N. Country Club Road
Tucson, AZ 85716
10:00 am – 2:00 pm

HOPE, Inc.
1671 W. Grant Road
Tucson, AZ 85745
10:00 am – 2:00 pm

Yuma, AZ
Yuma Regional Medical Center
2400 S. Avenue A
Yuma, AZ 85364
10:00 am – 2:00 pm

Hialeah, FL
Palmetto Hospital
2001 W 68th St.
Hialeah, FL 33016
10:00 am – 3:00 pm

Tampa, FL
Premier: NPR Library
5939 Main St.
Port Richey, FL 34652
10:00 am – 3:00 pm

Atlanta, Georgia
Sequoya Elementary
3456 Aztec Road
Doraville, GA 30340
9:00 am – 3:00 pm

Chicago, IL
Chicago Family Health Center
9119 S. Exchange Ave.
Chicago IL
9:00 am – 1:00 pm

Chicago Family Health Center
570 E 115th St.
Chicago IL
9:00 am – 1:00 pm

Jersey City, NJ
City Hall
280 Grove St.
Jersey City, NJ
9:00 am – 12:00 pm

Orange, NJ
523 Park Ave.
Orange, NJ 07051
11:00 am – 1:00 pm

Princeton, NJ
Princeton Public Library
65 Whiterspoon St.
Princeton, NJ 08542
9:00 am – 1:00 pm

Lakewood, NJ
Ocean Health Initiative
101 Second St.
Lakewood, NJ 08701
8:30 am – 5:00 pm

Trenton, NJ
Shiloh Community Development Corp.
340 Calhoun St.
Trenton, NJ 08618
10:00 am – 2:00 pm

Dallas, TX
MLK Center
2922 MLK Jr. Blvd.
Dallas, TX 75215
10:00 am – 5:00 pm

El Paso, TX
Centro San Vicente
1208 Myrtle Ave.
El Paso, TX 79901
9:00 am – 5:00 pm

Houston, TX
EA/SRA Kickoff Enrollment Event
6550 Mapleridge St.
Suite 214
Houston, TX 77081
8:00 am – 5:00 pm

Mission, TX
Mission Public Library
801 E. 12th St.
Mission, TX 78572
9:00 am – 3:00 pm

San Antonio, TX
UTSA Downtown
1 UTSA Cir
San Antonio, TX 78249
9:00 am – 4:00 pm

Effective Outreach is Crucial for Getting Latinos Covered


NCLR held a briefing today to address the opportunities and challenges that Latinos face nationwide in enrolling in or renewing health insurance under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Our experts reported that bilingual materials, the availability of knowledgeable navigators and extensive community outreach to answer questions about deadlines, eligibility and financial help would improve Latino participation. The second ACA open enrollment begins Nov. 15, 2014 and ends Feb. 15, 2015. Information and enrollment applications are available at www.HealthCare.gov and www.CuidadoDeSalud.gov or by calling 1-800-318-2596.

Below are highlights from the event:

NCLR’s Senior Vice President for Programs, Delia Pompa, delivered opening remarks.

Panelists for the press briefing included:  Sinsi Hernández-Cansio, Director of Health Equity, Families USA, Steven Lopez, Manager, Health Policy Project, and NCLR, Mayra Alvarez, CMS, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.


The report is also available below:

Hispanic Childrens Coverage