The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is ramping up its efforts to get Hispanics enrolled in Obamacare.
“We’re about to start open enrollment—which will start on Saturday,” HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell said in a Google Hangout this week hosted by various liberal Hispanic bloggers:
That’s the period where people can come in and shop to find affordable, quality healthcare that can help them both in terms of their health and taking care of themselves—something that I know is incredibly important to this population—and to folks also in terms of their economics so that they can live in security and know that if they do have a health incident they’ve got coverage and it can take care of them. So we’re very excited and thanks for the opportunity to have a conversation about everybody getting out starting this Saturday, but actually you can start window shopping right now which I know a lot of people like to do to get a sense of “if my income is this amount, what kind of plans could I look at? What kind of premiums would I have? What kind of deductibles?”
Burwell continued by noting not only is “that already up,” but “it’s up in both Spanish and English.”
This Saturday, the government will be sponsoring nine separate Obamacare “Latino Enrollment Summits” nationwide. They will occur in Hialeah, Fl., Tampa, Fl., Atlanta, Ga., Jersey City, N.J., San Antonio, Texas, Dallas, Texas, El Paso, Texas, Houston, Texas, Rio Grande Valley, Texas, and Chicago, Illinois.
Burwell hawked those events in the interview.
“You can go and seek information and try and enroll and do enroll in three different ways. One, if you prefer to seek assistance face-to-face, go to localhelp.healthcare.gov,” Burwell said. “There you can find out where someone in your community can talk to you—and one of the things that we’re trying to do is talk to people who are trusted people in communities whether that’s churches or assisters or groups. As a matter of fact, we will be having enrollment summits. There are nine Latino Enrollment Summits happening this Saturday. That’s a place where people can go and get that individual help.”
When one of the bloggers asked Burwell about options for people who live in states that have not conducted a Medicaid expansion, Burwell argued that all states should expand Medicaid.
“You’ve hit upon an extremely important issue and one that in my relatively short time as Secretary here that I’ve spent a lot of time on and that’s the issue of Medicaid expansion. And expanding that ability in a number of more states,” Burwell said. “Right now, there are 27 states plus the District of Columbia which have expanded but we need to work to do more. That is a very important part of ensuring people across the country have affordable coverage.”
That comes as a report this week shows that immigrants have accounted for 42 percent of the total increase in Medicaid enrollment under Obamacare’s expansion of the program.