The second round of open enrollment in the Affordable Care Act (or “Obamacare”) Marketplace started on November 15th 2014. Last year, SA2020 joined an impressive coalition of community health groups and organizations that banded together to make healthcare and insurance a reality for San Antonio’s uninsured population. That coalition is called EnrollSA, Get Bexar Covered.
Last year, with the help of SA2020, EnrollSA reached over 1.7 million people with messages about the importance of insurance and basic healthcare. The collective work of the coalition resulted in 76,414 people enrolling in health insurance in our community with 19,414 of those people getting enrolled at EnrollSA events held between February 5th through April 15th.
So, what does this mean?
Well, in 2010, members of the San Antonio community said a ‘world class city’ meant that 86% of people living in San Antonio would be enrolled in healthcare by the year 2020. Through the collective efforts of EnrollSA, 82% of the city is enrolled in healthcare today. We’re well on our way to reaching that goal.
But, what does this really mean? Why should I care about someone else’s health insurance? These newly enrolled 76,414 people now increase their chances of living a longer life, calling in sick to work less often, lower their cost of a doctor’s visit and prescription drugs and protect their child’s health, making him or her more likely to be a top classroom performer. Awesome, right?
We also know that more access to preventative healthcare and screenings could mean fewer people becoming obese and diabetic. Our Community Dividends Report shows that by “reducing the number of people who have diabetes by 1%, residents in the metropolitan region would see a savings of $16.1 million each year. These savings include direct medical expenditures, and indirect expenses due to absenteeism, presenteeism (not working to capacity while being at work), reduced productivity, disability, and early death.” We also know that the number one cause of bankruptcy is medical expenses, a large contributing factor to poverty and economic problems. If increasing health insurance rates can help us prevent people from falling into poverty, we know that too has a major impact on our community. Reducing poverty by just 1% in San Antonio would mean a decrease in public anti-poverty expenditures of $403 million, not to mention the growth that comes with increased opportunity for our community members.
Healthy people are essential to the vitality of a community.
This is why EnrollSA is not stopping at insurance enrollment. Having insurance is fundamental, but it doesn’t help you unless you use it. Enrollment is just the beginning—the next step toward a long, healthy life is to find a “health home” that provides exceptional care to individuals and their families. Finding a health home allows for basic treatment that prevents chronic diseases such as obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes and a stroke, issues that our community is altogether too familiar with.
Adding physical activity to a daily schedule also maximizes life. For instance, did you know that on average, every hour you spend exercising increases your life expectancy by two hours? Yeah, that’s a big deal. (To find no cost gym classes such as zumba, cross fit and yoga for all ages, click here.) This year, Enrollment 2.0 began November 15, 2014 and ends February 15, 2015. Those looking for coverage to start January 1st will need to enroll by December 15th. The new goal for EnrollSA, Get Bexar Covered is set: this year we want to enroll at least 46,000 people. To reach the people that could benefit most from this work, EnrollSA has begun to strategize efforts to target San Antonio’s Latino population and those born in the year 1988 that will be turning 26, providing help with enrollment as well as information about the importance of finding a health home, receiving consistent care, and living a healthy lifestyle.
SA2020 calls you to action: get enrolled in health care, find a health home and get active. My ‘world class’ San Antonio city is a fit, vibrant community; take the first step in a healthy life.
To find an enrollment location near you or to make an appointment to enroll, call 211 or visit enrollsa.com.