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First Book

April 8, 2014 by  

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Photo Credit: Cristina Espinosa of Centro de Adoracion Familiar (CAF)

Hispanic Access Foundation has partnered with First Book to provide Hispanic children in need with new books that will help build organizational and home libraries, develop literacy skills and celebrate these youth’s Hispanic heritage.

Over the last month, Hispanic Access Foundation enrolled over 50 of our partner organizations, made up of Catholic and Evangelical churches, schools and parent organizations with First Book, so that they could receive 2,500 books worth over $10,000.

All of the organizations were selected based on the criteria that 70% of the youth they serve are low-income.   Once the organization was signed up, we provided them with a code allowing them to receive a free shipment of the Celebrate Cuentos Collection.  This collection consists of 50 hand-picked titles that highlight Latino cultures and celebrate Hispanic heritage.  The books were selected to serve kids in kindergarten through sixth grade, and include picture books (fiction and nonfiction), poetry, beginning readers, chapter books, and middle grade novels.

Through Hispanic Access Foundation and First Book’s ongoing partnership, we have distributed more than 24,000 books valued at over $232,000 to kids in numerous Hispanic communities.

To sign up with First Book visit: http://www.firstbook.org/receive-books make sure to indicate that you heard about their program through Hispanic Access Foundation.  If you need any assistance with the registration give us a call at 1-800-206-9096.

Open Enrollment is over – There is still help to get you Covered

April 7, 2014 by  

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From the healthcare.gov/blog

We know many of you worked hard to finish enrolling in a health plan in the Health Insurance Marketplace. Sometimes despite your best efforts, you might have run into delays caused by heavy traffic to HealthCare.gov or the call center, maintenance periods, or other special situations that prevented you from finishing the process on time.

If that happened to you, don’t worry – you still may be able to get covered in 2014.

If you were trying to enroll on our system by the March 31 enrollment deadline for coverage in 2014 and didn’t finish, there may still be help to get  you covered.

  • Log in to your online Marketplace application on HealthCare.gov and finish the enrollment process – you’ll need to just confirm online that you were still trying to enroll on March 31.
  • Or contact the Marketplace Call Center at 1-800-318-2596. The Call Center can help you complete your enrollment over the phone. TTY users should call 1-855-889-4325. Be sure to tell our customer service representative that you’ve been trying to enroll.

Don’t miss out on the health coverage you need. Let us help you finish your enrollment today.

VOXXI: Why accurate tax records are important for Hispanic health

February 28, 2014 by  

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From VOXXI.com 

By: Hope Gillette

Tax season is upon the country, and for many immigrants –documented or otherwise– filing taxes can be difficult due to language barriers that cause complications and miscommunication during the process. Because of this, PRNewswire indicates Hispanics often are the unknowing perpetrators of tax fraud or deliberately avoid filing taxes all together, and these indiscretions can have a negative impact on health.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is designed to grant health insurance access to millions of people in the United States, and Hispanics, as one of the largest uninsured populations in the country, stand to gain hefty benefits from the reform law. The only catch is that properly filed tax returns are a must for eligibility, and that may put some Hispanics in a difficult position.

Thankfully, a new program has launched to help reduce the fear and reservation associated with tax filing so Hispanics can apply for the insurance they need. The Hispanic Access Foundation (HAF) has partnered with H&R Block tax service to form Prepárate Para Un Futuro Mejor” (Prepare Yourself for a Better Future), a series of free tax preparation workshops designed for Spanish-speaking individuals. The programs will be nationwide and will focus on tax misinformation, ACA eligibility and potential immigration law changes that will also impact how Hispanics file.

“This campaign has helped tens of thousands of Hispanics with concerns about immigration status, past experiences with fraud and inadequate tax preparation,” said in a press release Maite Arce, president and CEO of HAF. “With the rapid expansion of the Hispanic population, it is essential to provide accurate information and access to bilingual, professional tax experts to successfully navigate the United States tax system. With a better understanding of the filing process, we can strengthen our families, communities and nation.”

Hispanics looking to take part in the ACA can use their prior tax returns to verify not only eligibility for coverage, but possible eligibility for tax credits.  The IRS indicates assistance to purchase health insurance comes through the tax filing process as does the penalty assigned should an individual or family decline coverage.

“If you get insurance through the Marketplace, you may be eligible to claim the premium tax credit,” states the agency. “You can elect to have advance payments of the tax credit sent directly to your insurer during 2014, or wait to claim the credit when you file your tax return in 2015. If you choose to have advance payments sent to your insurer, you will have to reconcile the payments on your 2014 tax return, which will be filed in 2015.”

Because many of the tax provisions surrounding the ACA begin this year, now is the time for Hispanics to take advantage of free educational programs so past tax issues aren’t repeated, causing an issue with the ability to purchase or maintain health care coverage.

“Hispanics have the highest uninsured rates of any racial or ethnic group in the country,” said Arce. “While the first step for everyone is to make sure your taxes are in order, for many Hispanics there is a steep learning curve. Not only are we providing education on the tax process, but also on why health insurance is important and how the system operates as a whole.”

Proper tax preparation is not only important to Hispanics when it comes to health insurance, but experts indicate tax returns may soon become an intricate part of immigration reform. Any Hispanics who are in the process of completing documented immigration status may eventually be required to show proof of tax documentation for multiple years before citizenship is granted.

Accurate Tax History Crucial for Hispanics’ Health Care and Immigration Futures

February 26, 2014 by  

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WASHINGTON – For many Hispanics, barriers such as language, fraud and misinformation lead the list of complications they face when it comes to filing their tax return, which is a critical tool for healthcare eligibility and impending immigration reforms. To help address Spanish-speaking taxpayers’ needs for trustworthy and credible help, Hispanic Access Foundation (HAF) expanded its outreach and educational campaign in partnership with H&R Block, the world’s largest consumer tax services provider.

As part of “Prepárate Para Un Futuro Mejor” (Prepare Yourself for a Better Future), nearly 200 free tax education workshops will be held in 18 markets nationwide. These workshops emphasize the importance of building an accurate tax history, provide insight on how to protect against fraud and misinformation in the tax preparation process, and outline how to meet some important requirements of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and potential immigration rule changes.

“This campaign has helped tens of thousands of Hispanics with concerns about immigration status, past experiences with fraud and inadequate tax preparation,” said Maite Arce, president and CEO of HAF. “With the rapid expansion of the Hispanic population, it is essential to provide accurate information and access to bilingual, professional tax experts to successfully navigate the United States tax system. With a better understanding of the filing process, we can strengthen our families, communities and nation.”

While there have been many barriers for Hispanics, the Affordable Care Act provides a new incentive for tackling those challenges. Many people who do not have health insurance may be able to receive a subsidy to help with the cost based on their household income and family size. Eligibility for assistance can be determined from an individual’s tax return, which can also streamline the insurance plan enrollment process with a health insurance exchange. With the individual mandate requiring nearly everyone to have health insurance, a key component of the Affordable Care Act is the health insurance exchange — a marketplace where consumers can shop for a health insurance plan.

“Hispanics have the highest uninsured rates of any racial or ethnic group in the country,” said Arce. “While the first step for everyone is to make sure your taxes are in order, for many Hispanics there is a steep learning curve. Not only are we providing education on the tax process, but also on why health insurance is important and how the system operates as a whole.”

In regards to immigration reform, it is expected that both political parties will support a reconciliation of unpaid taxes as a prerequisite on any path to legal residency or citizenship. While plan details are still being discussed, it would likely require individuals to submit tax documentation for multiple years – an individual will need to provide an accurate tax history as part of the application process.

Since 2010, HAF has held over 700 workshops in more than 600 churches and community spaces nationwide. The 2014 campaign will feature workshops through March and another series in the fall.  A complete list of workshop dates and locations is available at www.pormifuturo.org.

ACA Latino Week of Action

February 25, 2014 by  

Hispanic Access Foundation is committed to getting information about expanded healthcare coverage to those communities who need it most.  For 8.2 million Latinos with private insurance, this now means they will have access to expanded preventive services and 10.2 million uninsured Latinos will have the opportunity to purchase affordable healthcare.

What we’re doing in the air

Our public service announcement (listen here) continues to be aired in all 18 markets where we work; it has aired more than 6,000 times for over 200 million impressions.

Our helpline has made dozens of referrals to callers interested in learning more about Health Care Reform.

Our website, social media channels and online searchable database have provided content and links to on the ground resources.

Additionally, we have completed numerous interviews with both national and local media outlets to highlight the Health Care Marketplace and why it’s important for Hispanics to be insured.

What we’re doing on the ground

Hispanic Access Foundation works with religious and community organizations to reach communities with traditionally poor health outcomes and links these individuals and families to bilingual healthcare experts.  Hispanic Access and our expert healthcare partners have reached over 4,408 people with the following information free of charge:

  • What services do all insurance plans now have to provide?
  • What is the Insurance Marketplace?
  • Who is eligible
  • How to apply
  • Plans
  • Benefits
  • Preventative Services
  • Cost
  • Financial assistance

BUILDING PARTNERSHIPS

Hispanic Access Foundation has partnered with experts on the healthcare marketplace nationwide. We would like to acknowledge the hard work of our partners who have supported us in the following communities:

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