Category Archives: August 2014

September 5 Deadline for Obamacare

Aug. 27, 2014

Gebe Martinez, [email protected], 703-731-9505, or
Kelsey Crow, [email protected], 832-326-0990

HASHTAGS: #BySept5, #5DeSept

Sept. 5 Deadline Nears for Latino and AAPI Immigrant Communities Needing to Verify Obamacare Eligibility

Links to informational materials are available below.

WASHINGTON — Latino and AAPI immigrants who bought health insurance through Obamacare must comply with the government’s request for more information about their citizenship or immigration status by September 5, and not get frustrated if they are having trouble submitting the information, health care and immigrants’ advocates said Wednesday.

Only a few days remain before the September 5 deadline for individuals who have been asked for additional documents to respond to notices. Failure to submit the requested information on time could mean a loss of health coverage through the Marketplace after September 30, advocates warned during a telephonic press briefing.

“Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today,” said Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center (NILC). “The request for more information does not mean that these individuals are not eligible. There are many reasons for why this happened, including technical glitches and language barriers that were beyond the control of the applicants.”

More than 300,000 individuals in 36 states have received notices from the federal Marketplace. Consumers in Florida and Texas received the most notifications. Other states include: AL, AK, AZ, AR, DE, GA, IL, IN, IA, KS, LA, ME, MI, MS, MO, MT, NE, NH, NJ, NC, ND, OH, OK, PA, SC, SD, TN, UT, VA, WV, WI and WY. States that run their own marketplaces may also be following the federal deadlines, or may have slightly different final deadlines and procedures. Of the 300,000, about 57,000 notices were sent to Spanish-speakers.

In many cases, families are just now realizing they have to respond, often because they received the initial three-page notice in English, did not understand the importance of the notices, or believe they are in compliance because they submitted the documents with the help of assisters when they originally enrolled in the health care program.

Elizabeth Colvin, director of Insure Central Texas (, a program of Foundation Communities, cited the case of a 57-year-old man in Texas who was born in the U.S. and has never had a passport. His driver’s license may be used in combination with another document, such as a birth certificate, which he lost years ago in a flood, and now he has to wait several days to receive a new certificate from the state. In another case, Colvin’s center helped a Spanish-speaker upload documents and qualify during the initial enrollment period, only to recently realize — after seeing the letter in Spanish — that the documents are being requested again.

“Even if customers are frustrated, it’s important for them to pay attention and respond so that they don’t lose their coverage,” Colvin said, adding that it is difficult to know when documents are successfully uploaded on the online system. “We haven’t been able to get confirmations for people, and that’s unsettling. We would like to find a way to reassure them.”

“Since the notices are in English, people do not know what they say or that they are important. They put them aside or throw them away,” added Amy Jones, Health and Social Services Director, Southeast Asian Mutual Assistance Associations Coalition, Inc. (SEAMAACin Philadelphia, PA.

“At SEAMAAC, we are calling everyone we helped enroll to let them know to look for these letters in the mail, and to bring their documents in if they need help submitting or resubmitting,” Jones said. “We created a letter and translated it into Chinese, Vietnamese, and Nepali to send to families about these notices that we have not been able to reach by phone. We also created a flyer to get word out to the general community to understand the urgency of looking in their mail for these notices. This flyer was translated into Chinese, Vietnamese, Nepali, Indonesian, Karen-Burmese and Chin-Burmese.”

Advocates said they continue to press the Obama administration and, specifically, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, to eliminate the language barriers and system glitches that create difficulties for clients attempting to comply with the rules.

“It became clear during the first open enrollment period that navigators and assisters were essential in helping Action for Health Justice provide access to health care information and enrollment assistance for more than 540,000 Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders,” said Priscilla Huang, senior director of impact, Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum (APIAHF), a member organization of Action for Health Justice. “Along with many other groups, we continue to work with DHHS to address enrollment challenges, specifically increasing sufficient in-language notices regarding personal data and health care coverage.”

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House Vote on Refugee Children

August 1, 2014

Adela de la Torre, [email protected], 213-400-7822

NILC: Shameful Display of Politics Attacks Women and Children Fleeing Violence

WASHINGTON — In a stunning display of cold political gamesmanship and miscalculation, the GOP-led House of Representatives hastily passed a measure today that would roll back due process protections for child refugees, a measure whose effect would be to deport many children back to violent and even deadly situations. The measure also would provide a small amount of temporary relief money, but only through the end of September.

As threatening as the House bill is to refugee children, anti-immigrant extremists in the House also demanded a floor vote to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program established two years ago for eligible “DREAMers” who have grown up in the U.S. According to initial NILC analysis of the legislation, the House-approved bill also would potentially result in preventing victims of domestic violence and other vulnerable immigrants from receiving work authorization.

The following is a statement from Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center.

“Today will be remembered as one of the most shameful days ever on Capitol Hill. Instead of showing compassion to children, Congress played politics, advancing legislation that, if it is enacted, will place children directly in harm’s way. To make matters worse, Republicans voted — for the fifth time — to deport DREAMers, immigrant youth who have grown up in the U.S.

“Lost in the debate is a simple fact: We are talking about children who deserve our love and support. Reducing these children to nothing more than another political football and fighting to find ways to shuttle these children back to violence more quickly isn’t just bad politics — it is cruel.

“Attacking women and children clearly isn’t enough for this House. In its rush to roll back deferred action for DREAMers, the House has also gone after survivors of domestic violence and other immigrants, potentially stripping them of their ability to work as well. Every representative who voted for this poorly constructed, misguided piece of legislation should be ashamed.

“When Congress reconvenes in September, we hope its members will move beyond hyper-partisan votes to reject refugees, sue the president and deport DREAMers, and instead will get back to the business of keeping our government from careening from one emergency funding proposal to another. But given today’s votes, it appears that House Republicans are committed to being anti-immigrant and extremist.

“Today’s vote makes it clear that the president must act on his own to provide solutions to support both the refugee children and the 11 million aspiring citizens. He has the authority. Now he must use it.”

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