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 »
"In the biggest blow he’s dealt to the renewable energy industry yet, President Donald Trump decided on Monday to slap tariffs on imported solar panels. The U.S. will impose duties of as much as 30 percent on solar equipment made abroad, a move that threatens to handicap a $28 billion industry that relies on parts made abroad for 80 percent of its supply. Just the mere threat of tariffs has shaken solar developers in recent months, with some hoarding panels and others stalling projects in anticipation of higher costs."
Text from the Trump Administration's planned infrastructure program were published online. According to the documents, 50 percent of funds appropriated for the program will be used to encourage "state, local, and private investment in core infrastructure by providing incentives in the form of grants. Federal incentive funds will be conditioned on achieving milestones within an identified time frame." An additional 10 percent of funds are earmarked for "innovative or transformative" infrastructure projects, 25 percent for rural infrastructure projects, 7 percent for federal lending programs, and 5 percent to create a financing fund for "large-dollar real property purchases." White House spokeswoman Lindsay Walters said: “We are not going to comment on the contents of a leaked document but look forward to presenting our plan in the near future."