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Navigators Have Played a Vital Role in Securing Health Care Coverage for Uninsured Asian Americans in Illinois

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
Edwin Chandrasekar
(312) 372-7070 x223
edwin@asianhealth.org

Aug-18, CHICAGO, IL – A newly released Special Issue Brief jointly prepared by the Asian Health Coalition, Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law, and University of Chicago finds that navigators have played a vital role in helping thousands of Asian Americans in Illinois secure health care coverage. The Illinois Department of Public Health and Get Covered Illinois recently announced its 2016 Get Covered Illinois’ In-Person Counselor Program for the next round of open enrollment which is set to begin in November 2015. This report will help communities and policymakers address key issues for Asian Americans early on, and increase coverage rates for all Illinois residents.

Over the last two years, Illinois has enrolled more than 900,000 individuals in affordable health insurance plans and Medicaid through the state’s marketplace, Get Covered Illinois. Navigators have helped consumers prepare electronic and paper applications to establish eligibility and enroll in coverage through the Marketplace and potentially qualify for financial help to offset the cost of a plan. They also provided outreach and education to raise awareness about the Marketplace and expanded Medicaid.

“Illinois was fortunate because the state had a successful grant program for outreach and enrollment and because Asian community-based organizations took the initiative to develop strategies for extending outreach to faith-based locations, schools, community clinics, and other settings that chiefly served Asian Americans,” said Edwin Chandrasekar, Executive Director at the Asian Health Coalition. The study, which was conducted across five diverse Asian communities, found that:

  • Significantly high numbers of low-income individuals with limited English language comprehension received health coverage as enrollment numbers jumped from 65.3% to 77.6%.
  • In addition, individuals with health insurance were also likely to have a primary care physician, increasing from 60% before open enrollment to 75% after enrollment.
  • The navigators (also known as in-person counselors) at community-based organizations were crucial in helping bridge the disparity in insurance coverage between Asian Americans and others, helping individuals overcome both language and literacy barriers to enrollment.

“Enrollment is not a single-step process for limited-English-speaking individuals and families, who need to reenroll annually and find new coverage if their income or employment changes,” said Stephanie Altman, Assistant Director of Health Care Justice at the Shriver Center. “Many of the newly insured have never had health insurance, and also require help finding a provider and navigating an unfamiliar health care system. Ongoing training and technical assistance for navigators in these areas would be beneficial,” she added.

For more information about this report, please contact the Asian Health Coalition at (312) 372-7070 ext226 or info@asianhealth.org.

 

The Asian Health Coalition is a 501(c)3 non-profit with a mission to improve the health and wellness of the Asian American community through advocacy, technical assistance, community-based education and research. To learn more, visit www.asianhealth.org.

The Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law provides national leadership in advancing laws and policies that secure justice to improve the lives and opportunities of people living in poverty. We specialize in practical solutions. We advocate for and serve clients directly, while also building the capacity of the nation’s legal aid providers to advance justice and opportunity for their clients. www.povertylaw.org.

The University of Chicago Medicine & Biological Sciences is one of the nation's leading academic medical institutions. It comprises the Pritzker School of Medicine, a top 10 medical school in the nation; the University of Chicago Biological Sciences Division; and the University of Chicago Medical Center, which recently opened the Center for Care and Discovery, a $700 million specialty medical facility


The Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law provides national leadership in advancing laws and policies that secure justice to improve the lives and opportunities of people living in poverty. We specialize in practical solutions. We advocate for and serve clients directly, while also building the capacity of the nation’s legal aid providers to advance justice and opportunity for their clients. www.povertylaw.org

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