By Bev Llorente, ABS-CBN North America Bureau
March 28, 2014
LAS VEGAS, Nev. – In a state greatly affected by the 2008 recession, and with a statewide unemployment rate of 8.7 percent, being able to afford health care had become a challenge for many kababayans in Nevada, especially for those who have children.
Marlon Multo is a single dad who lost his medical insurance when his company turned him into a part time employee.
“It’s hard when you don’t have insurance, especially if you have an existing condition,” Multo said. “Some doctors help with the co-pay, but medication is too expensive. Without insurance it can be $900 to $1,200 for 30 days. My other medication costs around $300 to $500 without insurance.”
Multo had to work two jobs to make ends meet.
“Now we have a chance for everyone in the country to have affordable coverage, why not take it?” he said.
In Nevada, more than 300,000 residents are without health care insurance. Although 80,000 applied for coverage under Obamacare, only 38,000 applicants completed the application process.
White House commissioner and adviser on Asian Pacific Islanders Rozita Villanueva Lee admits enrollment has been slow but she encourages everyone to take their time and look into programs that will suit their needs. She says the information they share will be kept confidential.
“If we can enroll them we will, and there are two ways they can be subsidized,” Lee said. “In other words, they will choose a plan and they have a choice whether they pay for that plan. Or if they qualify for Medicaid, then they could choose Medicaid. But we won’t know until they actually come in and enter the information because if we don’t have that information, then we won’t know their premium.”
Lee added: “Not everybody is going to get the same doctor that they have right now. So what’s happening is that people are not making the calls. We cannot do the calls for them. It’s entirely up to them to investigate which plan they want, number 1 and 2, and where they would like their insurance.”
For kababayans who who missed the the March 31 deadline, Nevada Health Link says that they could cacth the next open enrollment scheduled for November of this year.