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Casa Quad Cities To Help With the Affordable Care Act

According to the U.S. Census, nearly one third of the Latino population is uninsured. That means starting Tuesday, more than 17 million hispanics will need to sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, or else they'll be fined.

Casa Quad Cities Executive Director, Michael Woods, says his organization received money from the state of Illinois to help make sure that doesn't happen.

"So many in the target audience that we serve, whether that be the Latino community or just immigrants in general," said Woods, "They're some of the most underinsured audiences in the country. So they've lived for years without insurance. So our goal is also to showcase the importance of insurance, and to educate them about the law, as well as to the fact that they could be fined if they do not register and get enrolled into the program."

In August, Casa Quad Cities received $30,000 to hire a bilingual counselor to help people sign up for health insurance. Woods says the counselor went through extensive training, so she can help people pick their best healthcare option.

"The Spanish website may be delayed," said Woods. "And if that's the case, then our in-person counselor would literally read every question and go through the entire process with the client. The key is that they're not going to just sit down and do something you can do at home. We're literally going to be there to advise them through the entire process, making sure that they do the right decisions, identifying any questions, and helping them navigate the entire system."

Woods thinks many in the Latino population will be slow to sign up for health insurance because of confusion about the law. But he says Casa Quad Cities will have outreach programs to encourage as many people as possible to sign up.

Enrollment for the Illinois Health Insurance Marketplace opens Tuesday (Oct. 1st), with coverage beginning on January first.