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Health

Latino outreach stepped up as ACA open-enrollment deadline nears

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With less than four weeks to go in the open enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act, the push is on to reach the Latino community, which officials say has traditionally not had widespread access to affordable health insurance.

Mayra Alvarez, associate director of the Office of Minority Health for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, says the latest study finds that eight in 10 uninsured Latinos can now get a break on the cost of insurance.

"So it really sends a strong message to the Latino community that an overwhelming majority would quality for some form of financial assistance in the form of tax credits to help pay for private coverage, or Medicaid, or CHIP," she explains. 

According to HHS, in Michigan there are 360,000 Latinos who may be eligible for insurance coverage, 69,000 of whom are currently uninsured.

Alvarez says the department has teamed up with local Latino groups, specially trained community assisters, churches, schools and other organizations to help spread the word about what she calls a historic opportunity for Latinos to address longstanding inequities in access to health care.

"Survey after survey tells us that the Latino community wants to receive information from trusted sources, and two of those most trusted sources are, one, Spanish-language media, and two, people in their community," she says.

Open enrollment for the Affordable Care Act runs through March 31 and can be completed online in both English and Spanish.