For Immediate Release
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
Get Covered Illinois Launches Spanish-Language Website
Site Crucial to Reaching Major Uninsured Demographic
CHICAGO – GetCoveredIllinois.gov, the official health marketplace website, launched the Spanish-language version of its website, designed to educate and serve the needs of the state’s Latino population.
“Making our GetCoveredIllinois.gov site available in Spanish is an important part of our mission to get one million people covered with health insurance,” Governor Pat Quinn said. “Although Illinois is home to one of the largest Hispanic populations in the country, 70 percent of Hispanic men and women working full time still do not have health insurance. This website will help turn that statistic around and educate people about their options.”
Consumers have until March 31, 2014, to enroll in a plan that provides comprehensive health coverage. The soonest coverage begins to take effect is Jan. 1, 2014, but consumers need to be signed up by December 15, 2013.
The website is designed to serve several groups within Illinois’ uninsured Hispanic community, including single-mother households, a group which represents about 43 percent of the uninsured population across the state. The Get Covered Illinois website also offers tools and information that provide clarification regarding enrollment for legal, documented immigrants in mixed-status families, who may have avoided applying for coverage for fear of risking the legal status of other relatives. In addition, the website is designed to reach young people between the ages of 18 to 24, a group that comprises 30 percent of Illinois’ uninsured population, which is also largely Hispanic.
“Purchasing health insurance can be confusing for new customers,” Get Covered Illinois Executive Director Jennifer Koehler said. “So that’s why we really encourage everyone to spend time on the GetCoveredIllinois.gov website. This is an online site that helps teach people how to shop for insurance, and provides free resources such as an 800 number, help desk, and a list of partner organizations in neighborhood that provide in-person assistance at no cost.”
So far, the total number of visitors to the English-language Get Covered Illinois site has surpassed 350,000, with 297,000 of those being unique visitors. The website has garnered well over one million page views, with the two most popular sections being the “Explore Coverage Options” tab and the “Individual and Family Coverage” tab.
State officials are encouraged with the significant number of Illinois residents who have used the simple screening tool. This user-friendly tool, found on the “How to Get Covered” tab of the home page, determines whether individuals are eligible for either private insurance in the Marketplace, or the state’s expanded Medicaid program. More than 130,000 people have answered the six household questions and then been routed either to the Application for Benefits Eligibility (ABE) site, which serves as the state’s rebranded Medicaid page, or to the Federal Marketplace (healthcare.gov) where they can shop among multiple options for private insurance.
CALL CENTER/HELP DESK:
The Get Covered Illinois Help Desk – (866) 311-1119 – is staffed with Spanish-speaking staff. It has received more than 8,000 calls since Oct. 1, with an average length per call of five minutes. Open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., the Help Desk plays a key role in educating people about the Get Covered Illinois options (either Medicaid or marketplace insurance).
So far, nearly 35,000 people have created accounts and more than 20,000 have submitted applications for the state’s expanded Medicaid program as established under the Affordable Care Act. More than 21,000 people have contacted the ABE call center, spending an average of more than 6 minutes with specially trained phone counselors. Average wait time is eight seconds.
The number of state-certified Navigators trained to provide in-person assistance to people trying to educate themselves about their health insurance options has increased to more than 600 in the last two weeks. The Navigators in Illinois are distributed across a statewide network of community organizations. Consumers can set up an appointment by entering their zip code at GetCoveredIllinois.gov and viewing a list of community partners near them. Each partner features Navigators who provide free in-person counseling on how to shop for insurance or determine Medicaid eligibility.
GetCoveredIllinois.gov is the official website for Illinois residents to compare health plans side-by-side, get help from special Navigators or Help Desk phone specialists and apply for financial support.
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