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With Beginning of Open Enrollment for Health Insurance, Efforts to Educate & Enroll Young Adults are Underway
With open enrollment for the Health Insurance Marketplace just underway, Pima Community College leaders, the Interim Regional Director for Health & Human Services (HHS) and members of the Cover Arizona coalition highlighted efforts to educate and enroll young Arizonans in health insurance. Participants also provided tips on what Arizonans need to know to receive new health insurance or renew their existing insurance.
Pima Community College Chancellor Lee D. Lambert stated, “Young people often think of themselves as invincible, but the reality is they need health care coverage because it is essential to their economic security.” Lambert continued, “If a person gets sick or is injured in an accident and doesn’t have health insurance, hospital and doctor bills can quickly exceed the person’s ability to pay. A single visit to the emergency room for an unexpected health situation can run into the thousands or tens of thousands of dollars. Coupled with college loans, living and other expenses, having no coverage can put a young person further into debt.”
Rahsheen Taborn, President of the Student Body, Pima Community College-Downtown, said that most students she talks to have a lot of questions about health care. Taborn said, “While it often seems easier to do nothing than to do something, I encourage students to act and get health insurance. I remind my friends that if you don’t have coverage you might not find out about a health condition you have until it is harder and more costly to treat.”
Diane E. Brown, Executive Director of the Arizona PIRG Education Fund, added that the outreach conducted by her organization and other members of the Cover Arizona coalition is designed to make sure that young adults and other Arizonans know their health insurance options and rights and how they can enroll. Brown stated, “The health insurance message is clear: It’s time. It’s affordable. We are here to help.”
The Pima Community Access Program (PCAP) is one of the leading organizations in Southern Arizona working to help walk individuals through the health insurance enrollment process. Cynthia Estrada, Outreach Supervisor, for PCAP, said that trained enrollment assisters are available across Tucson and Arizona to answer questions and assist individuals seeking health coverage. “Trained enrollment assisters are able and willing to meet with residents of Tucson. The appointments we conduct are designed to help individuals and families learn about their choices and give them the tools they need to choose a plan that best suits their needs.”
While Arizona organizations and individuals are working to educate and enroll individuals, Kenneth Shapiro, Interim Regional Director for Health & Human Services (HHS), said the effort to inform citizens of their options and rights is taking place across the country. Shapiro stressed the importance of having insurance for both the health and financial well being of individuals and families.
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Consumer friendly resources include:
The Arizona PIRG Education Fund’s guide provides information for consumers to know their health insurance options and health insurance rights.
The Arizona PIRG Education Fund’s fact sheet provides tips for consumers deciding whether to keep their individual health insurance plan or switch to a new plan.
Enroll America has developed a tool that can help individuals estimate their household cost for health insurance.
The connector allows individuals in Arizona to sign up for a free in-person appointment with a certified health insurance enrollment assister. Individuals can also call 211 to schedule an appointment.
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