Keenan Blog

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Recognizing Diversity in Community Connections

Guest Blogger 4/20/2016
Guest Blogger


The Affordable Care Act (ACA) and Covered California have contributed to an estimated 40 percent reduction in California’s uninsured population. However, more than 10 percent of the Asian Pacific American community remains uninsured. And uninsured individuals are less likely than those with insurance to receive preventive care and treatment for major health conditions and chronic diseases. Similar situations exist in many of California’s diverse communities.

Keenan recently led a roundtable at the Asian Pacific Americans in Higher Education National Conference to discuss:

  • How insurance impacts access to health care for the Asian Pacific American population
  • How partnering with local community organizations is effective in promoting public health and public policy initiatives
  • Identify major health indicators in California’s Asian population and their access to regular health care compared to non-Asian populations

The distinguished members of the roundtable were Pat Fong-Kushida, President and CEO, CalAsian Chamber of Commerce; Dana Howard, Deputy Director of Communications, Covered California; Cynthia Lee, Vice President of Strategy and Business Development, Sutter Health Bay Area; and Dennis Lum, Vice President of Channel Strategy, Sales Operations & Performance, Kaiser Permanente

Covered California’s Dana Howard noted, “With California having the fastest growing and largest Asian Pacific American population in the country, we continue our high priority commitment to reach California’s Asian Pacific American consumers through community organizations, local enrollers and language-specific outreach to ensure consumers are aware of their coverage options and the financial assistance available to help them pay their monthly health insurance premiums.”

Takeaways from the panel focused on significant challenges being faced now that Obamacare has opened up health care to many consumers who had never had insurance previously. Those challenges range from selecting coverage that best fits the individual to changing the way these consumers access care. With coverage, patients are able to shift from emergency rooms to a primary care physician and utilize preventive care instead of only going to the doctor when seriously ill or injured. In addition, the situation is often magnified by different preferences of ethnic groups, and the health care delivery system must adapt to those differences to achieve optimal health outcomes. As a result, the engagement strategies implemented by insurers and the state through community organizations are designed to enhance awareness and communication with individuals as well as address their questions and concerns.

blog_calasian_logoTo help address these issues, Keenan has engaged with the CalAsian Chamber of Commerce to provide easily accessible insurance consultation and enrollment services for individuals, families and small businesses.

“In California, we have such diverse and rapidly growing ethnic communities,” explained Pat Fong-Kushida, of the Cal/Asian Chamber of Commerce. “Engagement between health plans, providers and the community must take account of cultural factors.”


sam_blog_bioAbout Sam Cole
Sam Cole serves as Vice President of KeenanDirect. He has more than two decades of experience in the California insurance market. He is a Lifetime qualified member of the National Association of Health Underwriter’s (NAHU) Leading Producers Round Table.