#SA2020Says: What Can Health Care Really Mean to Our Community?

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The EnrollSA event held Nov. 15 underlined the benefits of basic health care to the San Antonio community. Image courtesy of SA2020.

The EnrollSA event held Nov. 15 underlined the benefits of basic health care to the San Antonio community. Image courtesy of SA2020.

The second round of open enrollment in the Affordable Care Act Marketplace started on Nov. 15, 2014. Last year, SA2020 joined an impressive coalition of community health groups and organizations that banded together to make healthcare and insurance a reality for San Antonio’s uninsured population. That coalition is called EnrollSA: Get Bexar Covered.

With the help of SA2020, EnrollSA reached more than 1.7 million people with messages about the importance of insurance and basic healthcare last year. The collective work of the coalition resulted in 76,414 people enrolling in health insurance in our community, with 19,414 of those people enrolling at EnrollSA events held between Feb. 5 and April 15.

So what does this mean?

Well, in 2010, members of the San Antonio community said a “world-class city” meant that 86% of people living in San Antonio would be enrolled in healthcare by 2020. Through the collective efforts of EnrollSA, 82% of the city is enrolled in health care today. We’re well on our way to reaching that goal.

But, what does this really mean? Why should I care about someone else’s health insurance?

A graphic presenting one of Bexar County's health care challenges. Image courtesy of SA2020.

Image courtesy of EnrollSA.

These newly-enrolled 76,414 people now increase their chances of living a longer life, calling in sick to work less often, lowering their cost of a doctor’s visit and prescription drugs, and protecting their child’s health, making them more likely to be a top classroom performer. Awesome, right?

We also know that more access to preventative health care and screenings could mean fewer people becoming obese and diabetic. Our Community Dividends Report shows that by “reducing the number of people who have diabetes by 1%, residents in the metropolitan region would see a savings of $16.1 million each year. These savings include direct medical expenditures and indirect expenses due to absenteeism, presenteeism (not working to capacity while being at work), reduced productivity, disability, and early death.”

The No.1 cause of bankruptcy in Bexar County is medical expenses. Image courtesy of SA2020.

Image courtesy of EnrollSA.

We also know that the No. 1 cause of bankruptcy is medical expenses, a large contributing factor to poverty and economic problems. If increasing health insurance rates can help us prevent people from falling into poverty, we know that, too, has a major impact on our community. Reducing poverty by just 1% in San Antonio would mean a decrease in public anti-poverty expenditures of $403 million, not to mention the growth that comes with increased opportunity for our community members.

Healthy people are essential to the vitality of a community.

This is why EnrollSA is not stopping at insurance enrollment. Having insurance is fundamental, but it doesn’t help you unless you use it. Enrollment is just the beginning — the next step toward a long, healthy life is to find a “health home” that provides exceptional care to individuals and their families. Finding a health home allows for basic treatment that prevents chronic diseases, including obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke – issues that our community is altogether too familiar with.

Image courtesy of SA2020.

Image courtesy of EnrollSA.

Adding physical activity to a daily schedule also maximizes life. For instance, did you know that on average, every hour you spend exercising increases your life expectancy by two hours? Yeah, that’s a big deal. To find no-cost gym classes such as Zumba, CrossFit and yoga for all ages, click here.

Enrollment 2.0 began Nov. 15 and ends next Feb. 15. Those looking for coverage to start Jan. 1 will need to enroll by Dec. 15. The new goal for EnrollSA: Get Bexar Covered is set: We want to enroll at least 46,000 people this year.

To reach the people who could benefit most from this work, EnrollSA has begun to strategize efforts to target San Antonio’s Latino population and those born in the year 1988 who will be turning 26, providing help with enrollment as well as information about the importance of finding a health home, receiving consistent care, and living a healthy lifestyle.

To find an enrollment location near you or to make an appointment to enroll, call 211 or visit www.enrollsa.com.

SA2020 calls you to action: Get enrolled in health care, find a health home, and get active. My “world -class” San Antonio city is a fit, vibrant community. Take the first step in a healthy life.

*Featured/top image: The EnrollSA event held Nov. 15 underlined the benefits of basic health care to the San Antonio community. Image courtesy of SA2020.

This story has been republished with permission from SA2020’s blog, I Am SA2020.

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