How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

Group aims to get more Latinos signed up for health coverage

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The organizers of a health coverage fair in downtown L.A. on Saturday are hoping to convince more Latinos to sign up for insurance under the Covered California exchange, ahead of the March 31 enrollment deadline.

The event is organized by the Council of Mexican Federations in North America, an umbrella group of Mexican hometown associations, along with health insurance providers. The group's Victoria Lopez said many Latinos don't realize they're eligible for coverage under the federal Affordable Care Act.

"What we've noticed with Latinos, especially the Latino communities we work with, is that they are confused," Lopez said. "They are not sure if this information is for them. So there is a lack of information. Which is why we want to have an event of this nature."

People aren't sure on where or how to enroll, Lopez said. One must be a legal U.S. resident to apply for coverage, but many eligible legal residents don't know they can – and haven't applied. The idea is to arm people with information and help them get their applications in, Lopez said.

According to Covered California, 1.27 million Latinos in California are eligible for a federal subsidy that would help pay their premiums; of these, only a little over 153,000 had applied as of the end of last month.

Overall Latino enrollment as of March 17 was still under 190,000, according to Covered California.

The health coverage fair runs between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday at the COFEM Gallery at 849 N. Alameda Street, Los Angeles.

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