Why aren't Latinos signing up for health care? - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Why aren't Latinos signing up for health care?

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The Latino-Hispanic population will specifically be targeted in the coming days as the deadline to sign up for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act approaches.

Experts said the enrollment rate for Hispanic-Americans seems "very low."

That's a concern in Michiana with a significant Hispanic populations in our cities.

Yessica Gonzalez with La Casa de Amistad said the big question she gets from local Latinos about healthcare is, "what is it?"

Gonzales is the front desk manager at La Casa de Amistad.  She is constantly helping local Latinos.  She said lately a lot of people have been coming in with questions about the Affordable Care Act.  "How is it gonna affect us?  I don't understand, when's the deadline?  Why do I need this? "

Experts said few Latinos have enrolled.  Gonzalez said it's because they just don't understand it or the penalties if they don't sign up.  "There is no advertising in Spanish, so it makes it a little hard to get the word out."

Local health care workers are among many trying to get the word out to Hispanics.  Patty Gremaux, the Director of Community Outreach at Elkhart General Hospital said, "We do have trained bilingual certified Indiana navigators.  We've also done a big push with our fairly robust Hispanic-Latino outreach where we are on the two Spanish language radio stations Monday-Friday everyday."

Beverly Milon is one of those navigators. It's her job to walk people through the process.  "We've sent letters to the church's to let them know we're here and we want to help. Even if you don't speak English, that's all right too. We have a department here. They speak Spanish. They're going to work with them," said Milon.

Gonzalez said really it comes down to that language barrier. "I think we just need more advertising on the subject and what is available in Spanish or maybe the application in Spanish itself so people feel comfortable enough to do it themselves."

There is a Spanish version of healthcare.gov. It's ciudadodesalud.gov, but Gonzalez said that hasn't really been promoted.  In fact, she said she hasn't even seen that page herself.

Those who still need to enroll for health care coverage can make an appointment with one of Beacon's navigators or locate additional navigators throughout Michiana at localhelp.healthcare.gov. They can also call the City of South Bend's customer service line, 311.

There are also several enrollment events in Elkhart.  They are as follows:

  • Wednesday March 26th 3-8 p.m. at the Tolson Center.  1320 Benham Avenue.
  • Monday March 31st 11 a.m.-6 p.m. at the Tolson Center. 1320 Benham Avenue
  • Monday through Friday 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. at the Council on Aging.  230 E. Jackson Blvd.
  • Monday through Thursday 7:30-5:30 and Friday 7:30-11:30 at Community Action of NE Indiana.  23631 US 33, Suite D.
  • Monday 9-8, Tuesday 9-6, Wednesday 9-6, Thursday 9-6, Friday 9-4 at Heart City Health Center Inc.  236 Simpson Ave.

 

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