To dispel myths about the federal Health Insurance Marketplace in San Antonio, Community First Health Plans (CFHP) teamed up with the UTSA Policy Studies Center to sponsor the Affordable Care Fair on Dec. 7 at UTSA’s Downtown Campus.
The event featured a panel discussion moderated by Dean Rogelio Saenz of the UTSA College of Public Policy. Speakers included District 5 City Councilwoman Shirley Gonzales, CFHP President and CEO Greg Gieseman, CommuniCare Health Centers Chief Revenue Officer Quiara Sherrard and Jose Ibarra of Enroll America.
San Antonio is among cities with the highest rates of uninsured Texans. “Despite the problems with the website and all of the efforts to do away with the ACA or delay it, we know that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is much better than the system we have in place. For many people in our country, our state and community, that means not having any health care (coverage) at all,” Saenz said.
According to Saenz, one out of five residents, 38 percent of employed residents and one of four Latinos are uninsured in San Antonio, among the highest rates in Texas.
Despite all of the debate and website glitches, Gieseman of Community First says many parts of the ACA have already been implemented. And a facet of the ACA — no delays on healthcare coverage for pre-existing conditions — can make the difference between life and death.
The other important goal of the Affordable Care Fair was to raise awareness of the Dec. 23 deadline for uninsured San Antonians to enroll in a health plan on the Health Insurance Marketplace for people who want health insurance coverage under the ACA by Jan. 1.
Anyone with questions about the Dec. 23 deadline can call 1-888-323-7407 or visit http://www.CommunityFirstHealth.org. CFHP was established in 1995 by the University Health System to provide health care coverage to the citizens of Bexar and the surrounding counties.