Hiring Veterans to Enroll their Uninsured Neighbors: On the Road in Jersey City

Posted February 4, 2014

We had a terrific event in Jersey City, where Secretary Sebelius met a Navy veteran who’s helping residents enroll in affordable quality health coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace.

She joined Mayor Steven Fulop as he talked about how the New Jersey Hospital Association is hiring and training veterans in Jersey City and across the state to help their fellow Americans get health coverage they need.

Secretary Sebelius praised the initiative and Mayor Fulop’s Mayor’s Action Month providing outreach to uninsured residents who speak languages other than English and to college students. She said they are great examples of what President Obama meant during his State of the Union address when he asked Americans to join him in making 2014 a Year of Action. He asked every American who knows someone who is uninsured to help that person get covered by March 31, the end of open enrollment.

Hilda DéMello, of Edison, N.J., who served her country in the Navy from 1985 to 2006, epitomizes that vision.  A veteran without a job, Hilda was hired and trained as a certified application counselor who is now educating and enrolling consumers in coverage through the Marketplace at HealthCare.gov.

Hilda said she likes being able to continue serving her country by helping her fellow Americans get the security and peace of mind of affordable health coverage that’s there when they need it.

It’s a new day for New Jerseyans and their health care: More than 34,750 people in the Garden State selected health plans through the end of December; with almost 80 percent of them receiving financial assistance to help pay for the premium.

But the Secretary also noted that nearly 580,000 people in Northern New Jersey are uninsured and eligible for coverage, and about 1.9 million people in the New York City area – across both New Jersey and New York – are uninsured.

Mayor Fulop announced that the Mayor’s Action Month is focusing on helping residents who speak Spanish, Creole, Tagalog, and other languages, learn about their new options for affordable coverage and enroll in a plan that best fits their needs. Additionally, Mayor Fulop announced that the city will be reaching out to college students to help them learn about the importance of being covered and how to enroll in a health plan.

Actions like those of Hilda DéMello and the Mayor’s Action Month will help New Jersey’s uninsured residents join the 9 million Americans who have already either signed up for private insurance, or signed up, renewed, or learned they are eligible for Medicaid coverage.