On the Road: Helping Friends and Neighbors Get Covered

Posted February 19, 2014

Secretary Sebelius traveled to Florida and Texas this past weekend to talk to people who are answering the President’s call to help friends and neighbors get covered. She also met with people who are already benefitting from the new Health Insurance Marketplace. 

Happenings in Houston

Her first stop was Houston on Friday. While the Lone Star State leads in many positive ways, it unfortunately leads in its uninsured rate as well.

The Secretary held an event with two groups seeking to change that reality: Día de la Mujer Latina (DML) and Young Invincibles (YI). Venus Gines, DML’s CEO and founder, shared how her group is educating Latino communities, and YI’ addressed helping young adults. The groups also promoted enrollment events to be held over the weekend.

Betsy Furler, a Houston mother of two who for years has struggled to afford insurance, also joined the Secretary at the event. Pre-existing conditions priced Betsy’s past coverage through the roof. Today she has coverage for half of what it cost before—and she told the audience how relieved she feels.

Momentum in Miami

Secretary Sebelius poses for a photo with Cool and Dre during an outreach and enrollment event in Miami, FL.The Secretary spent Saturday—National Youth Enrollment Day—at a Young Invincibles event in North Miami’s Joe Celestin Center. Joined by Mayor Lucie Tondreau and hip-hop producers Cool and Dre, the Secretary met many young adults in need of coverage. Assistors helped them signed up for coverage on site—one of many similar enrollment events around the country.  

Allan Zullinger, a 28-year-old law student, told the crowd how he used to feel: “The only thing I looked at was the price because I’m never going to use it. I’m invincible, of course.” But a car accident changed that. Since then he has realized the value of having coverage and found a plan that fits his needs through HealthCare.gov.

Organizing in Orlando

Secretary Sebelius concluded her weekend push in Orlando. She joined Mayor Buddy Dyer in announcing his initiative to increase navigators in the city’s community centers. With more than 400,000 uninsured eligible residents, Orlando is providing one-on-one help in a “familiar place that’s close to home.”

Orlando resident Ali Kurnaz, 22, shared how he has been uninsured for most of his life. He’s healthy and an active soccer player, but he knew that any injury or illness could financially wreck his family. Ali not only found himself an affordable Platinum plan, his whole family signed up.

With the March 31 deadline in sight, Secretary Sebelius will continue to work with community partners across the nation, reminding everyone, everywhere, to #GetCovered!