By Bev Llorente, ABS-CBN North America News Bureau
NEVADA – As the deadline to sign up for Affordable Care Act draws near, many kababayans living in the valley are still longing for answers if this health care is sustainable and will provide long term coverage for years to come.
Obamacare has been the talk of the town for months in Nevada. With President Obama’s ‘mea-culpa” for the glitch and confusion brought to Americans on healthcare coverage, Nevadans still continue to wonder what Obamacare is really all about and if it will be beneficial for them.
Enrique Jamelo was in the military for five years. Because he voluntarily discharged from the service, he wasn’t able to carry over the coverage veterans and military personnel have.
He is back to ground zero in providing healthcare insurance for his family. Although his wife Joan works in a casino, she is still not eligible for insurance coverage as she only works part time.
“Mahirap kasi it’s like no security at all lalo na may kids. You have kids na magka-kasakit. Yun yung concern namin. That’s why we are asking about those coverage and how much plans,” said Joan.
Her husband added, “Kasi hindi mo naman alam kung kelan ka magkakasakit paano kung wala kang insurance magkano ang babayaran mo sa hospital?”
Like many other households, the Jamelos is just one of the many families in Nevada who are longing for affordable healthcare insurance.
White House Commissioner Rozita Villanueva Lee said that the Affordable Care Act had a very slow start due to some technical glitches.
“Nevada ACA is almost the same as national because we had glitches in our computer as well. But we are so glad that Governor [Brian] Sandoval decided to make it as state thing and its really gonna be more helpful to our people,” Lee said.
“What our role is to make sure that the Filipinos, our kababayans, know about what’s happening because many of them don’t know that they can get subsidize as well even though they are not working. They’re so afraid to come and sign up. We can also help them out to get good health care,” she said.
Lee added that although security issues are now a concern to many, she assured Nevadans that all information is kept confidential. She is optimistic that technicalities are being fixed and will be running smoothly in the silver state of Nevada.
“Many of them still have a big question mark primarily, and that our role is to help them to understand. How expensive is it? It’s the cost. They don’t know what the cost is. It’s not expensive. It’s affordable. That’s why we tell them come here. We will put all the information about you and your family in here,” Lee said.
Dr. Noel Fajardo of Las Vegas Gastroenterology said that in the medical community, misconceptions by both medical practitioners and patients alike, led to confusion regarding Obamacare coverage.
“People are misinformed and there’s a lot of confusion as to when they are going to be eligible for receiving services under the ACA, and whenever they asks us questions we could not give direct answers because it’s quite difficult for us to find a resource and this is the same situation when they go to the website and internet. They find a lot of misinformation as well. So I think this is where the government can come in and educate us what this act is all about,” said Dr. Fajardo.
Dr. Fajardo added that a more aggressive educational campaign for the ACA should be given to both medical practitioners and patients to gain a better understanding and awareness.
“We may get some newsletter from insurance companires but not exactly specific guidelines and this is quite frustrating for the patient, and also our practice as well, because there are some inconsistencies on what they tell us and this is something we don’t know if it’s the act itself or the insurance,” he said.
In a recent meeting, US Majority Floor Leader Senator Harry Reid said that the ACA will be beneficial for uninsured Americans.