Under Obama’s Affordable Care Act, all citizens are required to get health insurance for 2014. While private health insurance will still be available, the health reform – also known as Obamacare – also establishes insurance exchanges to help people compare and contrast insurance plan costs and services.
Healthcare.gov will be the go-to website for citizens and lawful residents of all ethnic backgrounds to find those health insurance plans and decide on coverage.
Reasons behind delay in Spanish site
According to the Associated Press, the White House told Hispanic groups last week that the Spanish-language version of Healthcare.gov wouldn’t be up and running for a couple weeks. The current date set for Obamacare enrollment to open on that site is October 21st.
A White House official told Hispanic groups that the opening of the site would “coincide with a ‘week of action’ around Hispanic Heritage Month,” during which government and community organizations would highlight the ways in which the Affordable Care Act can help Latinos.
Hispanic Heritage Month began on September 15th and ends on October 15th.
While delaying the site is not ideal, the president and CEO of the National Alliance for Hispanic Health, Dr. Jane Delgado, said that she’d rather the site was done right than done quickly.
Obamacare and the Latino Community
Ten million Latinos are eligible for new healthcare coverage in the country. Of that group, approximately 4 million speak primarily Spanish, making the site’s delay a significant impediment to enrolling in the insurance exchanges.
Additionally, Latinos are one of the groups most affected by the new health care law: a higher percentage of Latino families and individuals, as opposed to other demographic groups, are uninsured.
On the other hand, as pointed out by Ron Pollack, the executive director of Families USA, the delay still leaves a month and half in which Latinos can enroll in a health insurance plan.
Spanish-speakers may also be able to enroll earlier than October 21st in certain states, since the federal government has allowed states to set up their own insurance exchange websites. States that have already taken the initiative to create a Spanish-language site will begin enrolling Latinos on the October 1st opening date.
Additional delays for Obamacare
The government is scrambling to get small businesses enrolled in employer insurance plans, as well, and numerous states have announced that they won’t have their English-language websites functioning until weeks after the supposed beginning of enrollment.
Reuters reported that New York’s site is unable to transmit user data to certain insurance carriers, and in Colorado and the District of Columbia, websites are unable to calculate the amount of federal subsidies for which consumers might qualify.
CO and D.C. have set up call centers and independent contractors to help consumers understand their eligibility until the website is working correctly.
Both Spanish and English speakers should check with their state’s health insurance exchange site to see when it’s expected to be running.
In the meantime, though the official site is not open for enrollment, Spanish-speakers can still educate themselves on the Affordable Care Act through CuidadoDeSalud.gov.