Deadline approaches; Latinos cautious of Obamacare - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Deadline approaches; Latinos cautious of Obamacare

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Healthcare.gov Spanish counterpart Healthcare.gov Spanish counterpart
PHOENIX (CBS5) -

The deadline to sign up for Obamacare is looming, and millions remain uninsured. Antonio Gutierrez, a first-generation immigrant in Phoenix, echoed some of the concerns his neighbors and family have with Obamacare and, specifically, healthcare.gov.

"A lot of people don't have access to the website," Gutierrez said.

For first-generation immigrants, enrolling in the Affordable Care Act has proven to be even more difficult. Gutierrez says not only is there a language barrier, but many of his Hispanic family and friends don't understand healthcare insurance. The concept of healthcare insurance is often foreign to those who weren't introduced to it in a previous country.

"If I don't know how to do it and nobody's there to help, what's going on after March?" Gutierrez asked.

Compounding the problem, healthcare.gov is only offered in English and its Spanish counterpart, cuidadodesalud.gov.

Immigrants speaking other languages are left out. For Patty Urias and her team at Enroll America, it's been their biggest challenge.

"The enrollment process itself doesn't take a whole lot of time," Urias said. "Some people still just don't know [enough about it]."

Urias and her team are in the Phoenix area to help introduce people to their options until the Monday deadline, but Gutierrez explained some of his friends and neighbors will be paying the $95 fine because his community doesn't know what the other option is.

"Maybe the Obamacare program is good," Gutierrez says, "but the government has to explain."

The deadline to enroll in a health insurance plan is Monday at 9 p.m. or opt to pay the fine of $95 or 1 percent of your yearly taxable income.

For more on this story and other stories around Arizona from this author, follow Shawn Kline on Facebook and Twitter.

Copyright 2014 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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