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Latinos face extra hurdles to navigating health care law

Posted October 21, 2013

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CuidadoDeSalud.gov, the Spanish-language version of the government website being used to sign people up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, didn't go online Monday as planned, and officials couldn't say when it would be up and running.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 30 percent of the Latino population nationwide lacks health coverage, and many have been waiting to enroll in a plan.

"They're coming day by day, asking so many questions, and the volume of the people who are coming just for questions is very high," said Juan Colon, a bilingual counselor at El Centro Hispano in Durham, who is helping people in the Latino community navigate the health care law's requirements.

The general HealthCare.gov site launched three weeks ago but has been plagued by technical problems – and overwhelmed by demand – since then.

Colon listened carefully to President Barack Obama's statements Monday about the website's problems for any information that might help the people he serves. Obama recommended that people having trouble with the site call 800-318-2596 to enroll or to ask so-called "navigators" like Colon for help with a paper application.

Affordable Care Act Latino sign-up Health law creates confusion in Latino community

Ricardo Correa, the outreach and enrollment coordinator at Lincoln Community Health Center in Durham, said a big obstacle for Latino families involves confusion over families with documented and undocumented members.

"Are the parents responsible to actually enroll the kids, even if they are undocumented – the parents are undocumented but the children are citizens?" Correa said.

Officials with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Internal Revenue Service said undocumented people aren't eligible for benefits under the Affordable Care Act.

Any children of undocumented residents who are U.S. citizens are eligible for health coverage under the law, officials said, adding that parents will owe a "shared responsibility payment" if they don't enroll their children, starting in 2015.

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  • Jack Flash Oct 23, 2013

    "Legal immigrants are required to be able to learn english to pass the citizenship test."

    BASIC English skills are required for naturalized citizens. That may not be enough to navigate health care info for the 1st time ever, nor would it cover people who are born here who don't learn English.

    "I wonder which average is higher, legal or illegal in the country?"

    No you don't. You already have an assumption you're totally comfortable with.

    " Go to any hospital… I work at one and see it every day of the week. We cannot turn them away."

    As it should be. I mean, if we're truly the Christian nation conservatives claim we are, what kind of Christian nation would turn people in need away from the emergency room? Now, which is more cost effective, deporting every undocumented immigrant, allowing the current system of over-reliance on ER to continue, or making some other health care available?

  • jreb919 Oct 23, 2013

    Ok, so $2700 a year more. Or about 5% of your net income.

    Unless you've got a lot of debt (and that'd be your fault, right?) you should certainly be able to afford that.

    When I was only making 55k or so I paid for my own mortgage, all my bills (this was before I was married), bought a new car, and still had money for vacations and whatnot.

    Plus healthcare.

    Is it unfortunate you'll have a bit less disposable income? Sure.

    Can I understand why you'd be upset by it? Sure. I would be too.

    But if it means a ton less people go uninsured at all, it's an overall benefit to society.

    junkmail5

    ppl like you amaze me wit your logic...
    you seem to have no issue with the gov't taking something that rightfully belongs to you.
    Not to mention giving it to someone else who, in most cases, has come to that point in life due to their own poor choices.
    astounding.....

  • glarg Oct 23, 2013

    Just a mater of time before there is a lawsuit over "lack of access" and the taxpayer is on the hook again.

  • outhousecat Oct 22, 2013

    The illegals get free health care now, thanks to us unwilling tax payers. I don't care if they get insurance or not. We can barely afford it for our own family. It burns me up to have to pay for insurance for people who aren't even Americans. Obama is killing our country.

  • Sherlock Oct 22, 2013

    Just press 1

  • stymieindurham Oct 22, 2013

    Most people on here just don't get it. This obama care is nothing more than "vote buying" for the government dependant. The low income will get subsidized.
    The illegal amnesty (which they will also try to ram through) will also be nothing but vote buying to set up a voting block for Hillary. "Wake Up America" (per Robert D. Raeford). See what this clown is doing to the country.

  • foodstamptrader Oct 22, 2013

    "But if it means a ton less people go uninsured at all, it's an overall benefit to society." - junkmail5

    I just would have thought a solution that was a win-win for all could have been found rather than punish a few who were trying to do the right thing. I am not rich

    Cost of insurance more than doubling just makes no sense to me. And if the intent was to levy a "progressive tax" on 4% of us, I don't see that as equitable policy....

  • junkmail5 Oct 22, 2013

    Ok, so $2700 a year more. Or about 5% of your net income.

    Unless you've got a lot of debt (and that'd be your fault, right?) you should certainly be able to afford that.

    When I was only making 55k or so I paid for my own mortgage, all my bills (this was before I was married), bought a new car, and still had money for vacations and whatnot.

    Plus healthcare.

    Is it unfortunate you'll have a bit less disposable income? Sure.

    Can I understand why you'd be upset by it? Sure. I would be too.

    But if it means a ton less people go uninsured at all, it's an overall benefit to society.

  • foodstamptrader Oct 22, 2013

    "If you make much under 50k you qualify for a subsidy." - Junkmail5

    I made $54K MAGI in 2012. $49,500 + some non-taxable investment income. So I don't qualify. Cut off is $46K.

    Cheapest BCBSNC Bronze plan offered with $5500 deductible is $4920/year for a 54YO non-smoker. (Off healthcare.gov)

    I currently pay $2256/yr. for $5000 deductible.

    118% increase, no subsidy. It will cost me almost 10% of my AGI. No too affordable. Definitely not fair...

  • welfarequeen Oct 22, 2013

    Tell you what. If I was in Mexico and desired a better life for my family, I'd go where the jobs were, legal or NOT. Politicians can draw lines on maps all they want to, the human populace has always and WILL always go to where there is a chance for a good life. I can't resent them for it.

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