Esperanza Health Centers launches new health coverage application assistance for immigrants 55 and over
Esperanza Health Centers is undertaking a major expansion of its insurance enrollment efforts for undocumented immigrants following the state’s rollout of the Health Benefits Coverage for Immigrant Adults program earlier this month. A social media campaign and street outreach efforts will aim to educate community residents about the program’s benefits while seeking to enroll eligible immigrant adults 55 years and older who may not have had access to health insurance until now.
“This program finally brings hope to those who’ve been excluded from health insurance in the past and whose health has been impacted as a result,” said Patient Benefits Manager Lucia Camacho who manages Esperanza Health Centers’ Community Resource Center at 2851 W. Cermak. “Everyone deserves healthcare regardless of immigration status and these new efforts will ensure that thousands of people finally get the health care they desperately need.”
Currently, a whopping 40% of Esperanza’s patients in the 55 -64 age group is uninsured. Last December, the health clinic opened a community resource center near the intersection of Cermak and California Avenue where a team of knowledgeable staff now help community residents learn about – and enroll in – various benefits programs. The effort has been by all measures a resounding success.
When the state unveiled a similar program last year for undocumented immigrants 65 and over, only 81% of Esperanza’s patients in that age group was insured, leaving the other 19% to rely on sliding scales and hospital grant discount programs. Today, 93% of Esperanza’s patients 65+ are connected with health insurance thanks to the efforts of Esperanza’s Patient Benefits Navigation team.
“We have already seen patients get approved and they have been so grateful to the point of tears,” added Lucia Camacho. “Knowing that they can get the proper healthcare that they need at no cost brings them an indescribable peace. This change in the law is truly helping to save lives.”
The campaign being rolled out this week seeks to give area residents more information about the change in the law and encourage them to seek coverage for themselves or a loved one who qualifies. People who are interested do not need to be an Esperanza patient to ask for help. The resource center is open to anyone needing support and appointments can be made by calling Esperanza’s main number (773) 584-6200.
The governor is expected to sign Illinois House Bill 4343 in the near future, which will expand eligibility even further to noncitizens 42 years old and over. As soon as they qualify, the community health center will again boost its application assistance efforts. For now, Esperanza hopes to connect more than 2,400 newly-eligible community members to health insurance.
Lucia Camacho is available for interviews. A street outreach team will also be distributing flyers this morning to area residents along Cermak Avenue in the Little Village/Marshall Square neighborhood. Any members of the press interested in visiting Esperanza’s clinic sites or community resource center can call (210) 279-7490 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, please visit www.esperanzachicago.org.