Affordable Care Act

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The Obama administration has decided to give more time to people who say they are unable to enroll in health plans through the federal insurance marketplace by the March 31 deadline. David Aguirre, Cover Arizona coalition member and healthcare marketplace coordinator with the Greater Phoenix Urban League talks about enrollment efforts in Arizona.

José Cárdenas: Good evening, I'm Jose Cardenas. People will now have more time enroll in the Affordable Care Act. An ASU professor is here to talk about the "N" word and its use in American race relations. And Cesar Chavez's fight for migrant farmers rights comes to the big screen. We'll talk about how his legacy lives on through his foundation today. All this coming up next on "Horizonte." Thank you for joining us. The Obama administration will give more time to people who say they are unable to enroll in health care plans through the federal insurance marketplace by the March 31st deadline. Here to give us an update on efforts in Arizona is David Aguirre, healthcare marketplace coordinator with the Greater Phoenix Urban League. He's also a member of the Cover Arizona group. Welcome.

David Aguirre: Thank you.

José Cárdenas: What's the new date?

David Aguirre: April 15th.

José Cárdenas: But it's not for everybody. There are some requirements, tell us what those are.

David Aguirre: The only requirements would be that you tried to enroll prior to the 31st and you were not able to. Now they have given you more time to be able to do the process.

José Cárdenas: What would you have to show, to prove that you tried to enroll before the deadline?

David Aguirre: What they are using is just kind of like your word, and also the application that you have created. If you created an account, they will be looking at that. But mostly it'll be on your own word.

José Cárdenas: Before we go into the details of what your organization is doing to try and get people signed up, where do we stand right now? How many people have signed up?

David Aguirre: So far nationwide we've enrolled over five million people, that's kind of like a good number. We were looking to do six million and I think we might hit the mark. We are working very hard to get there.

José Cárdenas: What about the computer problems that plagued the rollout of the Affordable Care Act?

David Aguirre: That was something at the beginning that kind of played out and was fixed. Now lately we've had pretty good luck with the system itself.

José Cárdenas: How much impact do you think President Obama's personal involvement has had? He's been traveling the country, he's been appearing with athletes, there have been commercials with famous figures talking about this. Has that helped?

David Aguirre: I believe so. Because the last few weeks it's been kind of like people running in and trying to get more information, asking questions. And there are more out there trying to get enrolled.

José Cárdenas: So let's talk now about what the Phoenix Urban League is trying do to get people enrolled in affordable care.

David Aguirre: We have extended hours to make sure if people are working they have a little extra time to come and get help. We are working with different agencies through the Cover Arizona Coalition to get people to some different times, weekends, nights, early mornings, all that, to make sure people have a fair chance to get in and get enrolled.

José Cárdenas: What is the Cover Arizona Coalition?

David Aguirre: The Cover Arizona coalition is a coalition of members, different agencies, state and local agencies that have been working together to bring -- Well, we all work together to bring the message out to the community. We work on strategies, what's working, what's not working, and then we meet on a regular basis so see where we're at and look at the efforts and everything we're doing as a coalition and as an individual agency.

José Cárdenas: What are you doing to reach out to the Latino community?

David Aguirre: Well, we have been going through different media that is on the Spanish media. We've been doing a lot of that. But also we've been working with like the different newspapers, the different grocery stores, the different beauty salons. And everywhere, where there's Hispanics, we are there trying to give them the message. And we ourselves have enough people to speak Spanish, as well.

José Cárdenas: And how well is it working? You see on the various news programs suggestions that the Latinos are reluctant to sign up for a government program. Some people may be concerned about being questioned about their immigration status and so forth, and some of it is cultural. Are you running into any of those issues?

David Aguirre: Not as much as some of the media is bringing it out. Almost everyone that we have helped, they come in and they are very open. I think it has to do with culture, who's helping them, who's on the other side of the table makes a big difference. I believe that's what really is the key to get them enrolled, that they understand, they understand the whole process, they understand what the information is going to be used for. Other than just what they hear on some of the media.

José Cárdenas: Now, you've indicated that overall the efforts may reach the number of people they were hoping to reach. What about the Latino population itself? Are you on target or --

David Aguirre: No, we are a little low on numbers as far as the Latino community. We've been doing all we can to get them. We have covered a few events over the weekend, like last weekend we had an event where we brought in almost like -- I believe like 3,000 people. We had a line out of the door for people trying enroll. In our office, we have every day from the time we open, sometimes we're still working until 8 or 9 o'clock,this whole week to get people enrolled. The majority are Latinos.

José Cárdenas: How much of a difference do you think the extended deadline will make?

David Aguirre: I think it'll make a big difference. The ones that already went through the process can wait a little bit and let the other people kind of go in, I think that'll make a big difference.

José Cárdenas: David, good luck, a lot of work in the next week or so. Thanks for joining us on "Horizonte."

David Aguirre: Thank you for inviting me.

David Aguirre:Member and Healthcare Marketplace Coordinator, Cover Arizona and Greater Phoenix Urban League;

Cesar Chavez

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