By Daphne Kwok
Almost one in seven Chinese Americans does not have health insurance.
And Chinese Americans are also at higher risk for many illnesses that can be prevented early on. For example, Chinese American women have experienced a dramatic increase in uterine cancer rates, rising seven percent each year from 2003 to 2008.
That’s why the Affordable Care Act is so important to the Chinese American community. It will help those without health insurance get affordable coverage and provides new benefits and protections for millions of Americans, including Chinese Americans.
Because of the Affordable Care Act, we no longer have to pay out-of-pocket costs for certain preventive services, such as screenings or flu shots. And we can no longer be discriminated against by an insurance company if we have a pre-existing condition, such as asthma or diabetes.
More than 4 million Americans have already enrolled in health coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace. There is no doubt that the Health Insurance Marketplace is working well. Millions of consumers, including thousands of Chinese Americans, many for the very first time, are now enjoying the peace of mind that comes with new health coverage.
Betty Li, a young Chinese American woman from Philadelphia, PA is one of them. She stopped by her neighborhood community-based organization, Southeast Asian Mutual Assistance Associations Coalition (SEAMAAC) in south Philadelphia after hearing that she could receive enrollment assistance there. Betty works at a small business that doesn’t offer health insurance so both her husband and she have been living without coverage. SEAMAAC, a certified navigator, helped her apply for and enroll in a marketplace plan for both her husband and herself. They will now pay less than a dollar a month for their coverage.
HealthCare.gov is working smoothly, so visit the website to sign up for affordable healthcare. Across the country, six out of 10 uninsured Americans can get covered for $100 per month or even less.
For those who are limited in their English proficiency, there are also educational materials available in Chinese at ed.gov/aapihealthcare.
If you or someone you care about is uninsured, it’s not too late to sign up for quality, affordable coverage – but you’ll want to act today and before March 31. If you don’t enroll by March 31, you can’t enroll again until November 2014.
Sign up today online at HealthCare.gov; over the phone with help available in 150 languages at the 24/7 call center at 1-800-318-2596; or directly through an issuer, agent, or broker. You can also find in-person assistance in your community at localhelp.healthcare.gov.
Statistics and consumer stories provided by the Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations.
Daphne Kwok is Chair of the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.