State reaches out to Latinos to get health insurance

October 2, 2013 8:25:56 PM PDT
The majority of Americans will need to sign up for medical insurance by March. If you don't, you will be fined by the federal government. More than five million Californians currently have no insurance and up and down the state volunteers are trying to educate them about their choices.

Sylvia Gomez, with the Tulare Community Health Clinic, has been walking door to door as part of the state's effort to educate people the Affordable Care Act.

"We're also involved with a lot of our community events such as our job fairs, health fairs," said Gomez.

Gomez is one of the many people literally walking the state to get the word out about the Affordable Care Act. The law requires all U.S. citizens or documented residents to get health insurance by March.

"We are going to have people in every community in the state," said Peter Lee, the head of Covered California -- the place to go for insurance coverage in California. "We've already got hundreds of organizations across the state that want to be part of making history... which is anchored in educating consumers to give them information they want to act on."

Alex Gallegos is uninsured. He said, "I definitely need to know more. I just saw some of the basic information about what the requirements are."

Gallegos is not alone. According to Covered California 48 percent of uninsured Californians are Latino. Sylvia Gomez says most of their Latino patients speak limited English and haven't heard of Covered California.

Undocumented immigrants like Cristina Zamorano are scared to voice their opinions. They aren't eligible for the coverage.

Gomez says they do need to pay attention to the new law. She said, "They do have family members and kids that are lawfully here that could qualify through covered California if they don't have insurance."

Even if they can't get coverage for themselves, undocumented immigrants are still subject to fines for not getting coverage for children that are U.S. citizens.

Written and Produced by Ken Miguel


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