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Latinos lacking medical insurance

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 Utah) - Mandatory health insurance will soon kick in but Latinos are struggling to get coverage.
SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 Utah) – Mildred Diaz’s baby was taken care of today.

Her doctor visit was paid for by the state’s CHIP program. It’s offered to low income families to guarantee children receive medical care.

But Diaz says her children aren’t covered for everything that ails them.

And if she gets sick, she and her common law husband are out of luck.

“His company gives him only insurance just for emergencies,” she says. “In case there’s an accident at his workplace. Nothing for the family.”

In Utah nearly 40% of the Latino population is without medical insurance and among immigrants its 65%.

“Sometimes we take more care of our cars than we do of ourselves and we are incredibly valuable,” says Lourdes Cooke.

Cooke is part of an insurance company that is targeting the Latino community.
The Affordable Health Care Act is offering grants to smaller insurance companies like Arches Health Plan to lower rates. And Latino's will need medical insurance.

“This year there's a requirement that people are insured or there will be tax penalties,” says Dr. Douglas R. Gray who is Arches chief medical officer.

He says Latinos are prone to illnesses such as diabetes and obesity. Dr. Gray says companies like Arches Health can offer subsidies for low income families.

“There's going to be opportunity for people to access subsidies,” he says. “So they'll be able to have some financial assistance to purchasing a good quality affordable health plan.”

Cooke understands the need for good health. She overcame cancer ten years ago. Now she makes sure she gets annual checkups and runs marathons at 65-years of age.

“I need to take responsibility for myself and show to my children and to my grandchildren that they are valuable,” she says. “(We) are an important part of this community.”

Dr. Gray says companies like Arches Plan must get certification from the government before offering insurance rates to consumers. He expects that to take place by late summer.
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