OC Asian-American Community Prepares for Health Reforms

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A Garden Grove community organization will take part in a statewide effort to educate Asian-Americans on what national health care reform means for them.

The Orange County Asian and Pacific Islander Community Alliance will reach out to Orange County’s Asian community at large as well as to small-business owners, many of whom are uninsured, said alliance Executive Director Mary Anne Foo.

Among Asian-American immigrants, she said, “so many men are not covered. They are business owners and can’t afford monthly premiums.” She said that among Asian-American groups nationally, Koreans are the most likely of all Asian-Americans to lack medical coverage.

Foo said many small-business owners don’t know they currently are entitled to tax credits toward paying employees’ coverage. They are also unaware, she said, of other significant aspects of the law scheduled to be implemented in 2014, including a competitive insurance marketplace and a national mandate that everyone have insurance coverage.

The goal of the alliance’s efforts, overseen by the Asian Pacific American Legal Center in Los Angeles, is to explain these and other new policies, said Foo, who is also a board member of CalOptima, Orange County’s medical program for poor and elderly people.

“We want people to get information so they can make their own decisions,” Foo said.

The alliance leads a number of health initiatives in Orange County, such as encouraging immigrant women to sign up for mammograms and Pap smears. “We’ll probably be going out to nail salon workers and garment workers. We go wherever the community is,” Foo said.

In addition to educating Orange County’s Asian community, the alliance will work to ensure that materials and consumer services supporting the new law are available in a variety of languages.

— AMY DePAUL

 

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