In the last three weeks, the health insurance marketplaces opened for business across the country. This was great news for the 15 percent of Americans – including 10.2 million Latinos – who don’t have health insurance, either because they can’t afford it or because their employer doesn’t offer it. At an event at the Rose Garden on Monday, the President discussed how the health care law is strengthening health plans and coverage for Americans. He was joined by consumers, small business owners, and pharmacists who have either benefitted from the health care law already or are helping consumers learn about what the law means for them and how they can get covered.
Among those participating in the event was Jessica Ugalde. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Jessica was able to stay on her mother’s insurance and receive treatment for a serious illness. Before health reform was enacted, recent college graduates like Jessica would have lost their health insurance when they left home or graduated from school. Young people in their first job were often forced to choose between paying their rent or maintaining their health insurance. The ACA changed this, by allowing young adults to be on their parents’ plan until age 26. This policy has already benefitted 913,000 Latino young adults who otherwise would have been uninsured. Because of the provision of the ACA that allows young people under the age of 26 to stay on a parent’s insurance, Jessica received the treatment she needed, quickly got better and was able to interview for a job which she still holds today.
While teams are working around the clock to improve HealthCare.gov, we are making it easier for consumers to find out about their new affordable health options by ramping up different ways to learn more about their options, apply for insurance and comparison shop, consumers can apply for health coverage in 4 ways – by phone, online, by mail with a paper application, or with the help of in-person assistance. The Administration has added more staff to call centers that are already up and running. You can apply for insurance over the phone at 1-800-318-2596 and get your questions answered by real people, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week in 150 different languages including Spanish. Spanish speakers can also read about the law and how it benefits them and their families visiting CuidadoDeSalud.gov.
You can also apply in person with the help of local navigators at community health centers and hospitals all across the country. The navigators are people specially trained to help you sign up for health care. Just visit LocalHelp.HealthCare.gov to find out where in your area you can get help and apply for insurance in person.
The fact of the matter is the Administration fought hard to pass the ACA, not to wage another battle around a website, but to give people who don't have health insurance the peace of mind of being covered. The President worked to pass this law to make sure that people like Jessica Ugalde no longer have to fear that one illness or injury would run her into financial ruin. Our goal has always been to secure health care as a right for all to enjoy. That's what the Affordable Care Act is all about.
Katherine Vargas is the Director of Hispanic Media