Volunteers Ringing 200,000 Bells to Inform Orange Countians About Obamacare

Union and community organizations in Orange County announced Thursday that their members will be going door-to-door to about 200,000 homes to inform residents about the Affordable Care Act (ACA), a.k.a. Obamacare. The grassroots Get Covered campaign will be focusing on Santa Ana, Anaheim, Garden Grove, Westminster and other parts of the county with representatives who speak multiple languages besides English, including Spanish, Korean and Chinese.

"Orange County has a significant number of residents who need health care coverage," explains Javier Gonzalez, executive director of SOLIPAZ, which describes itself as a corporation that helps underrepresented people learn civic skills and is based in Los Angeles.

"This large scale effort is an unprecedented attempt in the county to reach those who need health insurance most," Gonzalez continues in the Get Covered announcement. "This is a historic time, and we are taking this opportunity to help connect thousands of local residents to health coverage so they can access vital health care services."

Those ringing bells and knocking on doors will inform residents about upcoming education and ACA enrollment events and other services for which they may qualify. It's estimated that 17 percent of Orange County's 3 million residents are uninsured, and a third of those are young adults.

Santa Ana Building Healthy Communities is leading the outreach with support from the California Endowment. The coalition includes the Orange County Federation of Labor, Korean Resource Center, Orange County Communities Organized for Responsible Development (OCCORD), Orange County Congregation Community Organization (OCCCO) and Orange County Asian and Pacific Islander Community Alliance (OCAPICA).

"We are really pleased to have such large grass roots support," says Julio Perez, interim executive director of the Orange County Labor Federation, in the statement. "The coalition understands that enrolling thousands of people takes time and effort, as well as face-to-face contact with members of their community. Our coalition is fully committed to raising awareness in the community, especially among harder to reach populations, and getting people enrolled in health coverage."

Find out more at GetCoveredCA.com.

A similar effort is under way in Long Beach, but instead of going door-to-door, city officials and more than 25 community partners are getting directly involved in shepherding residents to six locations offering health insurance enrollment from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.

"This is a great opportunity for people to ask their questions about the new health mandates and make a more informed decision on their own health insurance," Mayor Bob Foster says in the Cover Long Beach announcement.

No appointment is required but those interested in completing a health insurance application must bring:

  • Birth certificate, U.S. passport or resident alien card (green card)
  • Proof of income such as recent paychecks and 2012 tax forms
  • Proof of Los Angeles County residency such as driver's license, utility or phone bills, or rental agreement
  • Social Security cards for everyone in the family applying for health insurance.

All information will be provided in English and Spanish, with additional languages as noted, at:

  • Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services, 2525 Grand Ave. Khmer, Tagalog (Free flu shots will also be offered at this site only from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.)
  • The Children's Clinic Hamilton Family Resource Center, 1060 E. 70th St.
  • Long Beach Community Action Partnership, 3012 Long Beach Blvd.
  • Long Beach First Friends Church, 850 Atlantic Ave. Khmer, Chamorro, Samoan, Tagalog.
  • St. Mary Medical Center/Dignity Health, 1050 Linden Ave.
  • Westside Baptist Church, 2280 Caspian Ave.

The city notes Obamacare expands the number of individuals and families who qualify for Medi-Cal and through Covered California, many more individuals are eligible for tax subsidies to help purchase health insurance. For more information and a list of participating agencies, visit www.longbeach.gov/health or call 562.570.7979.

Email: mcoker@ocweekly.com. Twitter: @MatthewTCoker. Follow OC Weekly on Twitter @ocweekly or on Facebook!

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