Obamacare Website for Spanish Speakers Has Problems, Too

National Journal
Clara Ritger
Add to Briefcase
See more stories about...
Clara Ritger
Oct. 21, 2013, 3:42 p.m.

Lost in the hub­bub sur­round­ing the mal­func­tion­ing Health­Care.gov is an­oth­er missed dead­line and closed door for mil­lions of Amer­ic­ans seek­ing health in­sur­ance: Cuid­ado­De­Sa­lud.gov.

The Span­ish-lan­guage site still does not al­low con­sumers to en­roll for ex­change cov­er­age, a delay that was pre­vi­ously es­tim­ated by ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cials to last un­til mid-Oc­to­ber.

A spokes­wo­man from the Health and Hu­man Ser­vices De­part­ment de­clined to com­ment on when con­sumers will be able to sign up for health in­sur­ance on Cuid­adoDe­Sa­lud.gov and wheth­er the ad­di­tion­al delay is re­lated to the mal­func­tions on the Eng­lish lan­guage site, Health­Care.gov.

Roughly 10.2 mil­lion Lati­nos in the United States do not have health in­sur­ance, ac­cord­ing to HHS data.

But Span­ish speak­ers — along with Amer­ic­ans frus­trated by the Health­Care.gov ex­per­i­ence — are be­ing dir­ec­ted to a toll-free num­ber, 800-318-2596, for help with the sign-up pro­cess, which Pres­id­ent Obama says would in­volve a 25-minute call for in­di­vidu­als and 45 minutes for fam­il­ies.

“Ad­di­tion­al fea­tures for on­line en­roll­ment will be avail­able as we make up­grades to the site,” HHS spokes­wo­man Joanne Peters said in an email.

On Cuid­adoDe­Sa­lud.gov, con­sumers can search for spe­cial­ists in their com­munit­ies who can as­sist in com­plet­ing pa­per ap­plic­a­tions. The site also con­tains edu­ca­tion­al in­form­a­tion about the Af­ford­able Care Act and ad­vert­ises the call cen­ter, which has bi­lin­gual staff on hand 24 hours a day, sev­en days a week.

To date, the call cen­ter has fielded 41,000 Span­ish-lan­guage calls, HHS said.

The con­tin­ued hol­dup of Cuid­adoDe­Sa­lud.gov has staff at the Na­tion­al His­pan­ic Lead­er­ship Agenda press­ing the White House to get a move on. The NHLA kicked off the Na­tion­al His­pan­ic Health Week of Ac­tion on Monday.

“This is a crit­ic­al pri­or­ity for the Latino com­munity, that they have ac­cess to af­ford­able health care,” NHLA Chair­man Hec­tor Sanc­hez said.

The NHLA is ad­vising com­munit­ies to ap­ply by phone and pa­per, but said it will likely have an­oth­er out­reach cam­paign once the Span­ish-lan­guage site be­gins ac­cept­ing ap­plic­a­tions.

“The mes­sage here is that we have six months to get this done,” Sanc­hez said. “Even with these glitches, the pro­cess is easi­er than it was be­fore.” 

What We're Following See More »
Collins, Cruz Appear to Oppose Health Bill
4 hours ago

Republican opposition to the GOP health care bill swelled to near-fatal numbers Sunday as Sen. Susan Collins all but closed the door on supporting the last-ditch effort to scrap the Obama health care law and Sen. Ted Cruz said that "right now" he doesn't back it. White House legislative liaison Marc Short and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., one of the measure's sponsors, said Republicans would press ahead with a vote this week." Collins said she doesn't support the bill's cuts to Medicaid, while Cruz said it wouldn't do enough to lower premiums.


Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.