28K Puerto Rico residents enroll in ‘Obamacare’ plans
Some 28,699 Puerto Rico residents signed up for health coverage under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act during the six-month subscription period that ended Mar. 31, Insurance Commissioner Angela Weyne said Thursday.
“Puerto Rico is currently the second jurisdiction in the United States with the largest number of insured people, where only 7.7 percent of the population does not have health coverage,” Weyne said.
“However, after completing the subscription of the orientation campaign for private health plans, we will continue our efforts to give as many people that still do not have a health plan access to a variety of plans that meet their needs,” she said.
The Insurance Commissioner’s office conducted an orientation campaign during the enrollment period that began Oct. 1, 2013, reaching more than 500,000 people in Puerto Rico through different means: news stories and interviews, more than 51,000 calls from health plans, 1,961 calls through the agency’s hotline, about 60,643 visits to the agency’s website, and visits to shopping centers across the island.
The agency spent $220,000 on the effort, drawn from the Insurance Industry Control and Regulation Fund.
“We’re more than pleased because thanks to this orientation effort, most Puerto Ricans today enjoy coverage with essential health benefits and will benefit from preventive services free of co-payments and deductibles,” Weyne said, adding that those insured under the new federal and local regulations cannot be denied access to a health plan for their age, immigration status, gender or health condition and their health plan can not be canceled except for nonpayment or fraudulent acts.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, known most commonly as “Obamacare,” was enacted to increase the quality and affordability of health insurance, lower the uninsured rate by expanding public and private insurance coverage, and reducing the costs of healthcare for individuals and the government.
As of the end of the open enrollment period, more than 7 million people across the U.S. mainland and Puerto Rico had signed up for health coverage, according to stateside media outlet reports.
The next guaranteed enrollment period for private plans will begin in October and end Dec. 31, 2014, Weyne said.