Before the Affordable Care Act, about 2 million Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) were uninsured. Among some AAPI groups — such as Korean, Tongan, Pakistani, and Thai Americans — nearly one in four people were uninsured. We made great strides getting AAPIs insured during last year’s Open Enrollment period, and we’re working to help the remaining 1.3 million uninsured AAPIs #GetCovered.
That’s why the Affordable Care Act matters. It’s helping individuals, families and communities across the country — including AAPIs — #GetCovered. Stories such as those of Anne Ha, Maly Xiong, and Peter Yang serve to remind us how life-changing it can be to have health insurance.
During the week of January 26-30, the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders partnered with the White House, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the national Action for Health Justice collaborative to host the second AAPI Affordable Care Act Enrollment Week of Action to help AAPIs #GetCovered. The Week of Action included 23 events in six states — and in more than 13 languages — geared toward encouraging Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders to enroll in health coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace by the February 15 Open Enrollment deadline. Overall, more than 1,000 AAPI families received information on the Affordable Care Act and nearly 400 individuals received assistance to enroll in the Health Insurance Marketplace.
On January 29, National Youth Enrollment Day of Action, the White House hosted an #AAPIhealth Twitterstorm to encourage young AAPIs to #GetCovered. The Twitterstorm was joined by White House officials, HHS offices, AAPI celebrities, and community groups around the country.
I joined Tina Tchen, Assistant to President Barack Obama and Chief of Staff to the First Lady, for a special call to thank AAPI navigators, certified application counselors, and other enrollment assistors for their efforts to ensure that AAPI communities benefit from the ACA. We wanted to encourage these hardworking individuals and organizations to continue spreading the word in the final weeks before the February 15 enrollment deadline.
Another way we are spreading the word is by using in-language resources to help people learn about the Affordable Care Act. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has released new From Coverage to Care toolkits available in Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese. These toolkits help guide individuals new to health insurance on how to understand health insurance cards, find a doctor, and make a doctor’s appointment. We also have new in-language educational videos in Burmese, Hmong, Khmer, and Lao as well as fact sheets available in Asian languages.
For more information on the Affordable Care Act, visit HealthCare.gov or call 1-800-318-2596 for assistance in 150 languages, and enroll before February 15. You can join us on Twitter with #AAPIhealth and #GetCovered. Let’s continue to get the word out and make sure AAPIs across the country #GetCovered!
Dr. Vivek Murthy is the United States Surgeon General.