Minority push in final days

Covered California marked the final week of 2016 open enrollment by reaching out to minorities.

The state Obamacare operation enlisted the help of lawmakers and community health care pros to encourage lower-income Californians to sign up for coverage by Sunday, Jan. 31.

Peter Lee at black churchSen. Ed Hernandez, who chairs the Senate Health Committee, participated in a Covered California conference call Jan. 26.

Hernandez and Covered California chief Peter Lee sought to assure potential insurance buyers that immigration status information would not be shared with authorities.

“Any U.S. citizen or person who is lawfully present in California is eligible for health insurance through Covered California even if they have family members in their household who are undocumented,” Hernandez said.

Lee said, “We are teaming up with leaders of Latino communities to make sure that we reach out to everyone who is eligible for coverage.”

On the same day, Covered California conducted a conference call aimed at encouraging Asian-American signups.

Assemblymember Kansen Chu, who chairs the Assembly Committee on Human Services, said: “The uninsured are among the most vulnerable in California and that can change now. Every community in California can benefit from better health service and lower costs for care.”

Assemblymember Rob Bonta, who chairs the Assembly Committee on Health, also sought to reassure potential insurance consumers that immigration information would not be used against their families.

“We know that many mixed families live in California, and consumers should know that when someone applies to Covered California their information will not be shared or used by any immigration agency,” Bonta said.

The Covered California web site offers help in Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Lao, Tagalog and Hmong.

While noncitizens and undocumented residents will not be eligible for Covered California health insurance plans, they may still be eligible for specific, limited Medi-Cal programs, the organization said.

The state Obamacare operation and its allies also sought to inform minorities that federal penalties would increase for those without qualifying health insurance coverage in 2016.

Meanwhile, Covered California’s Lee spoke at a trio of churches in connection with a push for insurance signups involving more than 500 African-American churches statewide (pictured).

“Because of (the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s) fight for justice and equality, I have always thought of his birthday as the best point each year to pause and celebrate the Affordable Care Act,” said Lee, who marched in the Kingdom Day Parade in Los Angeles on the King holiday.

Open enrollment for insurance sold under the Affordable Care Act runs through Jan. 31.

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