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Latinos fear losing their health coverage
Josefina Meneses, who is currently receiving cancer treatment through her Covered California health insurance, is worried about the Republicans’ plans to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare. Photo courtesy of Covered California

Six months after Josefina Meneses was diagnosed with cancer, her husband lost his job and his health coverage.

“I was very desperate. I felt bad because I was receiving treatment and my husband was fired. I felt sick and I was going to be without [health] insurance,” said Josefina, tears already streaming from her eyes.

She had to pause, before continuing to tell her story.

“My daughter told me not to worry, that we would sell everything if it was necessary for me to receive treatment,” she said. But it didn’t come to that. Josefina and her husband got health coverage through Covered California and even managed to keep their same doctors as before.

But now, Josefina is worried once more.

“What if they take our coverage again?” she asked. “I’m still seeing the cancer doctor, they told me I’m going to start radiation. I do not know when, and that worries me. I’m worried that Trump will repeal Obamacare.”

She is not alone. Nearly 56 percent of Californians fear that someone in their family will lose coverage due to changes to the Affordable Care Act, according to a survey released this week by the Institute of Governmental Studies at the University of California, Berkeley.

Among Latinos, the concern is even greater, with more than seven out of 10 fearing that the Republican-proposed reforms to the health care law will have a negative impact on their loved ones.

Certified Covered California agent Michael Bergstrom, whose offices serve mostly Latinos and Spanish-speaking people, said his clients often asked if they would lose their health coverage. Some even ask if they should continue to pay for their health insurance.

“We try to calm them down. So far everything remains the same,” said Bergstrom. “Qualifying individuals continue to receive subsidies and we continue to enroll people who have lost their health coverage because of changes in their lives.”

People who lose their health coverage during the year because they lost their job, changed jobs, got married or divorced, can enroll in Covered California.

People without health coverage during a lifechanging event have 60 days to enroll in a Covered California plan.

For more information about the Covered California Special Enrollment Period, visit www.coveredca.com/espanol or call 1-800-300-0213.

Story by: Yurina Melara, Covered California