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Health Care Fair Brings Enrollment Aid To Long Beach Young Adults, Uninsured on the First Day of California’s Health Care Marketplace Open Enrollment

Long Beach, CA (Nov. 16, 2014) — As the health care marketplace open enrollment window commenced yesterday, The California Endowment and Long Beach Building Healthy Communities in partnership with the City of Long Beach encouraged young adults and the uninsured to enroll in Medi-Cal and private insurance plans. Nearly 600 Long Beach residents attended Saturday’s WE Connect Health Care Enrollment and Resource Fair, where they accessed various resources including health coverage renewal and enrollment support, medical services, financial advising and a healthy grocery giveaway.

The WE Connect Health Care Enrollment and Resources Fair is part of The Endowment’s Asegúrate campaign, an outreach and enrollment effort aimed at engaging low-income Latinos and getting them enrolled into health coverage. Local and state partners joined forces at David Starr Jordan High School in Long Beach to empower families to lead healthier and more financially secure lives.

Community partners – including LA Care, Families in Good Health, and Long Beach Immigrant Rights Coalition – provided free access to resources that helped consumers identify and enroll in health insurance programs, including Medi-Cal, as well as additional programs like CalFresh, and free preventive medical screenings. This WE Connect event included an immigrant resources hub that provided information to young adults that are eligible to receive Medi-Cal coverage through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. 

Long Beach Building Healthy Communities and the City of Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services targeted youth and additional vulnerable populations to encourage them to make health a priority, now that Open Enrollment has commenced. According to a Kaiser Family Foundation survey, 19-34 year olds make up 42 percent of the uninsured population.

“Many Long Beach young adults face challenges to leading healthy lives that are out of their control,” explains Long Beach Building Healthy Communities Program Manager, Jennifer Chheang.  “By connecting our youth and our families with free or low-cost quality health coverage and financial resources, they can begin to overcome these barriers and set themselves on paths to success.” 

Now that the state’s marketplace is officially open, Californians now can gain much needed coverage. From private plans to county-level coverage options and Medi-Cal, which continually enrolls applicants, Long Beach residents now have help accessing the tools to focus on their health and well being. 

“We’re making Long Beach a better community by making sure that we’re healthy. Helping our neighbors use available resources gives them a helping hand when they need it” says Kelly Colopy, director of the City of Long Beach Health Department. “Making your health a priority before it becomes an emergency makes Long Beach a stronger city. Programs like Medi-Cal, DACA, and Covered California make it easier for residents to do so.” 

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About WE Connect
WE Connect was founded in 2005 by the former First Lady of California, Maria Shriver, and is now administered by The California Endowment. It empowers young adults and families in underserved communities by connecting them to resources and information they need to lead healthier and more financially secure lives. Key components to the program include resources such as Medi-Cal, the Earned Income Tax Credit, CalFresh and the Women, Infants and Children program (WIC). WE Connect is a major operational effort under the umbrella of The Endowment’s Asegurate campaign which reaches out to educate Californians about the Affordable Care Act and helps them enroll through one-stop-shop events. The program has successfully served millions of Californians through community events, web-based tools, public-private partnerships, and publications. For more information about the WE Connect program, please visit www.weconnect.net.

About The California Endowment
The California Endowment, a private, statewide health foundation, was established in 1996 to expand access to, quality health care for underserved individuals and communities, and to promote fundamental affordable improvements in the health status of all Californians. Headquartered in downtown Los Angeles, The Endowment has regional offices in Sacramento, Oakland, Fresno and San Diego, with program staff working throughout the state. The Endowment challenges the conventional wisdom that medical settings and individual choices are solely responsible for people's health. Through its ‘Health Happens Here’ campaign and ten-year initiative for Building Healthy Communities, The Endowment is creating places where children are healthy, safe and ready to learn. At its core, The Endowment believes that health happens in neighborhoods, schools, and with prevention. For more information, visit The California Endowment’s homepage at www.calendow.org

Building Healthy Communities: Long Beach (BHCLB) is a non-profit organization in Central and West Long Beach that supports community engagement to ensure that “Health Happens Here.” BHCLB works to build a sustainable community where health happens not just in the doctor’s office, but also with active transportation options, quality housing, healthy food access, improved environmental health, increased school attendance, parent engagement, and youth violence prevention. BHCLB is part of The California Endowment’s 10-year, $1 billion Building Healthy Communities initiative and fiscally sponsored by Community Partners. For more information, visit www.bhclongbeach.org.

The Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services is one of three local health jurisdictions in the state of California that is comprised of five bureaus: Community Health, Environmental Health, the Housing Authority, Physician Services and Prevention, Policy and Planning.  The mission of the organization is to improve the quality of life by promoting a safe and healthy community for all.  The Health Department accomplishes its mission through a large network of partnerships aimed at reducing health disparities and attaining health equity.  For more information on the Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services, visit www.longbeach.gov/health