Public Health Commission Unveils Plan to Enroll Uninsured Residents
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For Immediate Release
August 07, 2007
Released By:
Mayor's Office
For More Information Contact:
BPHC Communications Office

Pledging to "knock down any barriers that stand between residents and the doctor's office,'' Barbara Ferrer, executive director of the Boston Public Health Commission, today announced an unprecedented effort by the city of Boston to enroll uninsured residents under the state's landmark health care law.

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Ferrer, joined by local residents, community and business leaders, and staff from BPHC's Mayor's Health Line, unveiled the Commission's strategy at the Dominican Festival at Mozart Park in Jamaica Plain.

"Today I want to announce that the city of Boston, lead by the wonderful staff from the Commission, is going to do everything it can to ensure that people who don't have health insurance and are eligible for it, are enrolled in one of the new health plans,'' she said. "We want to knock down any barriers that stand between residents and the doctor's office—brick by brick---if we have to.''

On Thursday, Aug. 9, the Commission will open its doors at 1010 Massachusetts Avenue from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. to any resident who needs help applying for health insurance. A multilingual staff will be available to assist them. That day, it will also host an enrollment training workshop to teach health care providers and social service workers about the various types of health care plans and how to enroll people in them.

The Commission is also hosting a series of "Enrollment Days'' from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. every Wednesday through the end of the year at Boston Public School Family Resource Centers in Roxbury, Roslindale, Dorchester, and East Boston, where residents can get help signing up. To accommodate those who can't get time off work, the Commission is making health insurance enrollment help available by phone from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Residents can call the Mayor's Health Line at 1-800-847-0710 for assistance. The Commission is also working with local businesses in Jamaica Plain and other neighborhoods to help spread the word to their employees and customers.

Ferrer, a native of Puerto Rico, used the Dominican Festival as the backdrop for the announcement because of the Commission's emphasis on enrolling Latinos and other immigrant groups. Latinos are less likely to have health insurance than any other group of adults in Boston. About 16 percent of Latino adults have no health insurance compared to 6 percent of whites, 7 percent of Asians, and 11 percent of blacks.

Ferrer said many Latinos worry that their immigration status disqualifies them from enrolling in a health insurance plan. "That's not necessarily the case,'' she said. "In truth, with the new law, every child in Massachusetts is eligible for some type of coverage, regardless of income or immigration status. And there are new, relatively inexpensive plans that can help working families.''

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