UI Health helps African Americans get covered as ACA deadline nears

Robert Winn 2

“March 31 could be the most important deadline of your life if you are African American,” says Mile Square’s Robert Winn. Photo: S.K. Vemmer/UIC News

Signing up for health insurance is a critical first step for African Americans to reduce the higher risks they face from many serious diseases, says a leading doctor and community health expert.

“March 31 could be the most important deadline of your life if you are African American,” says Dr. Robert Winn, associate vice president for community based practice at the University of Illinois Hospital & Health Sciences System.

March 31 is the deadline to enroll in health insurance through the Affordable Care Act, which offers affordable options for coverage and financial assistance for those who qualify.

“African Americans carry a disproportionate burden of disease,” Winn said, with higher rates of diabetes, hypertension and cancer than other racial groups.

“If you are African American, there’s an overwhelming chance that you’ll be affected by disease. Enrolling in health insurance through the Affordable Care Act is an opportunity that just cannot be missed.”

Not only are African Americans more likely to have diabetes, cardiovascular disease, asthma and some cancers compared to non-Hispanic whites, they are also more likely to die from these diseases. Part of the problem, Winn said, is lack of health insurance and access to health care. That’s why UI Health is bringing its “Get Insured” program to the African American community through the month of March.

Get Insured helps people sign up for health insurance. Trained and certified application counselors can help people navigate the government website and answer their questions. Counselors are available at UI Hospital, the Outpatient Care Center, and at several UI Health Mile Square Health Center locations throughout Chicago. Appointments with counselors can be scheduled by calling 866-600-CARE or at UIGetInsured.com.

Counselors will also be available at the events below. Additional ACA enrollment events are online at the UI Health website.

March 8; 9 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Rainbow PUSH National Headquarters, 930 E. 55th Street

March 28, 29, 30; 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Today’s Black Woman Expo
McCormick Place, 2301 S. Lake Shore Drive