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Hispanics, young families targeted ahead of ACA deadline

38 percent of Texas' Hispanics uninsured last year

People have 13 days to enroll this year for health coverage under the Affordable Care Act and enrollment advocates say Hispanics are critical to the success of the program because such a high percentage are uninsured.
People have 13 days to enroll this year for health coverage under the Affordable Care Act and enrollment advocates say Hispanics are critical to the success of the program because such a high percentage are uninsured.

After her baby's doctor's visit  Tuesday morning at Centro Med, Monica Gomez had another task to tend to:  enrolling for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

"I don't have insurance," she said. "I was going to ask. We tried to get on the website, but can't get on the website."

She has 13 days left or face paying a $95 fine.

With less than two weeks left before the March 31 deadline, the push is on to enroll uninsured Texans.  As of March 1, approximately 300,000 Texans had enrolled, a fraction of the 4.9 million believed eligible.

At Centro Med clinics, some of the locations were certified staff is on hand to help people enroll,  the appointments are booking up and they are working extended hours.

While they want to reach everyone, there is particular interest in reaching young working families and Hispanics.

"That's our biggest target market," said Ana Maria Garza Cortez, spokeswoman for Centro Med. "The majority of our patients at Centro Med are Hispanic, so we do market to them, but we see it all over the city."

As of last year, 38 percent of the state's Hispanic population had no health insurance, compared to 25 percent of the overall state population, according to the Texas Medical Association.

Enrollment groups say reaching Hispanics is key to the success of the Affordable Care Act.

Literature is available in Spanish and the government website Healthcare.gov also has a Spanish language version, www.CuidadoDeSalud.gov.   The Spanish website was not available until early December, however.

"We are being requested to supply a lot of Spanish-speaking appointments, and we're able to accommodate that," Garza Cortez said.

Appointments have picked up pace, according to Garza Cortez, and they've extended evening and weekend hours to be available to people after work.

Several enrollment events are planned by the coalition www.enrollsa.com.  The entire list can be seen on its website.

Events include one   from noon until 8 p.m. Wednesday  at 3505 Pleasanton Road and another from 9 a.m. until noon Saturday at St. Phillips College, 1801 Martin Luther King Drive.


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