Black Doctors Join Efforts to Enroll Californians in Health Insurance

From left to right: Dr. Patrick Dowling, Dr. Raven Copeland, Kimeko Campbell and Dr. Michelle Bholat support Covered California health insurance for those who may seek assistance financially. (courtesy photo)
From left to right: Dr. Patrick Dowling, Dr. Raven Copeland, Kimeko Campbell and Dr. Michelle Bholat support Covered California health insurance for those who may seek assistance financially. (courtesy photo)

The nation’s largest organization of African-American physicians has joined forces with Covered California to promote health care being delivered to traditionally underserved communities as a result of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

The 16,000-member-strong National Medical Association is encouraging families, friends and patients to sign up for affordable health insurance during open enrollment, which began Nov. 15 and continues through Feb. 15, 2015.

“All doctors should make certain every African-American knows about the advantages of enrolling,” said Dr. Richard A. Williams, a Los Angeles-based cardiologist and member of the National Medical Association board. “This is just as important an issue — delivering health care to historically underserved minority communities — as the civil-rights issues of the 1960s and ’70s were. We must make certain that our black patients don’t miss this opportunity.”

The National Medical Association is one of 14 statewide health provider organizations that has began to send letters to their members, along with resource materials, encouraging them to promote open enrollment and to display an “I’m In” placard so that patients, prospective patients and family members will know that the providers accept insurance plans offered through Covered California.

Williams and other African-American physicians know the health challenges African-Americans face, and those doctors see coverage through Covered California as an important vehicle to improve health outcomes.

As a group, African-Americans rank at or near the top in conditions like heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Source: LA Sentinel

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