President Barack Obama appealed directly to Latinos on Thursday, telling them time is running out to sign up for health coverage this year and that they should enroll now to avoid problems.
Open enrollment in the health law’s online health insurance marketplaces closes March 31 for coverage this year and that date won’t be extended, Obama said during a town hall meeting in Washington, D.C. broadcast live on several Spanish-speaking media outlets. About one in four people eligible for coverage in the marketplace are Latino and their enrollment is seen as critical to the law’s overall success.
The event was hosted by the Asegúrate campaign, also known as “Get Covered,” a partnership between the California Endowment, Covered California, and America’s largest Spanish-language media organizations, including Univision, Telemundo, and La Opinion-impreMedia.
Noting that he has worked to help many Latinos afford college and stay in their homes during the recession, Obama urged Latinos to trust that he is working for their best interests. “You are not punishing me by not signing up [for coverage],” he said. “You are punishing yourself.”
He also stressed that the information required for sign-ups will not be shared with immigration agencies. “You should feel confident … if someone in your family is eligible, you should have them sign up,” he said.
If too many people wait until the last few days of March to enroll, he cautioned that it could create logjams for the federal marketplace, healthcare.gov.