Health care workers educate the public on the Affordable Care Act

TULARE, Calif.

Tulare Community Health Clinic has been working every day to inform their patients about Covered California. Most are uninsured and have not heard of the new law.

Sylvia Gomez walks door to door as part of the Tulare Community Health Clinic's outreach efforts to educate people about Covered California -- the Affordable Care Act requiring all U.S. citizens or documented residents to enroll in healthcare insurance by March of 2014. The face-to-face contact is just a fraction of their efforts to reach out to the uninsured.

"We're also involved with a lot of our community events such as our job fairs, health fairs," said Gomez.

She said educating the Hispanic/Latino population in California is crucial -- and said 90% of their clinic's patients are Latino or Hispanic, with more than 1,700 without insurance.

Alex Gallegos is uninsured. "I definitely need to know more. I just saw some of the basic information about what the requirements are."

Formerly self-employed, Gallegos says he switched careers just so he could be eligible for a less expensive plan.

Sylvia Gomez says most of their Latino patients speak limited English and haven't heard of Covered California. Plus, undocumented immigrants feel they don't need to pay attention to the law, since they aren't eligible for the coverage.

"But then again they do have family members and kids that are lawfully here that could qualify through Covered California if they don't have insurance," said Gomez.

"Immigrants are scared of voicing their opinion in regards to Covered California because they feel its not for them," said Cristina Zamorano, undocumented immigrant.

They're also trying to let immigrants know that if their children were born here and are uninsured, they will need to get them enrolled in insurance, or face serious fines by the government.

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