Saturday marked the first day of open enrollment for Covered California and reminds us that we need to enroll in health coverage, whether through Medi-Cal or private plans through Covered California. Covered California enrollment runs from November 15, 2014 through February 15, 2015, and Medi-Cal enrollment is open year-round. Last week we were honored to host a conversation with Latina media legend, author, and Asegúrate ambassador, Cristina Saralegui and community partners to discuss key health care issues and strategies to connect Latinos to health care.
Four community health advocacy organizations – A Woman’s Nation, Equality California, Mental Health America of Los Angeles and California Latinas for Reproductive Justice – joined the discussion to share information about the work they are doing to reach vulnerable populations in California and their efforts to connect them to health coverage and the new benefits made available under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
(From left to right: Erin Stein, A Women’s Nation, Rick Zbur, Equality California, Cristina Saralegui, Maryl Celiz, La Opinion, Dave Pilon, Mental Health America of Los Angeles, and Laura Jiménez, California Latinas for Reproductive Justice)
As an ambassador for The Endowment’s Asegúrate campaign, Cristina has helped hundreds of thousands of Latinos learn about new health coverage opportunities under the ACA and, most importantly, to get covered. In partnership with The Endowment, Cristina has dedicated her time to reach Latinos through public service announcements, collateral and social media.
So far, California has enrolled more than 3.3 million residents into health coverage, over a million of whom are Latino. However, our work is far from done. Several million Californians are still uninsured. These Californians are the most vulnerable and hardest to reach. Of the remaining uninsured, 62 percent of those are Latino. It’s crucial we get the word out to encourage those that aren’t covered, to get covered, and those that are covered to maintain their coverage by renewing their eligibility.
“Our health should be our number one priority. The best way to stay healthy is through prevention. Prevention is accomplished first through education. That is what the Asegúrate campaign is doing along with partner organizations,” said Cristina Saralegui. “It is so critical to reach families with the essential information that will allow them to get covered and access the health care they need.”
This year there are several obstacles in our path towards ensuring that all Californians having access to affordable, quality health coverage. First we will be focusing on the most vulnerable of the remaining uninsured–those whose first language may not be English or who are not adept at navigating complex health care systems. These Californians may be unaware that they are eligible for health care services through either Medi-Cal or Covered California. Second, of those who are covered, an estimated 8 million Californians will need to renew their Medi-Cal coverage with a complex process that is making it difficult for many to stay covered. An additional 2.2 million newly enrolled Medi-Cal recipients will also have to reenroll using a new and untested process that they will need to navigate.
California is one of the states that has led the way in expanding health coverage and getting people enrolled. We need your help to continue our efforts to build a healthier California. So in the words of Cristina, Pa’lante. Let’s keep moving forward.
Visit or www.getcoveredca.com to learn what steps you need to take to get enrolled or renew your coverage today.