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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Faith Leaders Should Seize Opportunity to Educate about Health Insurance

Josephine Kalipeni

Staff Writer

As stewards in educating, equipping, and empowering members of their communities, faith leaders have the unique opportunity to educate their congregants about the new health insurance options available through the marketplace. Because they value health, justice, and equity, faith leaders can be critical sources of information about the Affordable Care Act, which could have a far-reaching impact on millions of Americans—many of whom sit in pews on a weekly basis.

The Affordable Care Act’s open enrollment period (October 2013 to March 2014) presents a critical opportunity for millions of Americans to not only get covered but to potentially also get financial assistance. Many remain concerned, though, that uninsured people who can benefit from buying health insurance through the marketplaces aren’t aware of how to take advantage of the new options.

As trusted messengers with a captive audience, faith leaders can promote opportunities to sign up for health coverage in five easy steps.

  1. Visit to learn about the coverage options and experience the site like a user. This will enable you to speak from a place of experience and answer questions more specifically.
  2. Commit to being an agent of truth and education for members of your community.
  3. Help us collect stories that put a face to the positive benefits of the health care law by promoting
  4. Consider becoming a Certified Application Counselor or a Champion for Coverage.
  5. Lend your voice to the issue by participating in policy coalition tables and decision-making conversations where you can represent the voices of your congregants and community.

In just the first few weeks of open enrollment, millions of Americans visited the marketplaces, demonstrating an overwhelming need for information and affordable health insurance options. This need creates an opportunity for faith leaders to continue serving the public as they have for generations—by sharing factual information with their communities to empower and change lives.

Faith leaders are trusted messengers in their congregations, and many in the community may turn to them for guidance. This is why it’s crucial to get involved, cut through the politics, and share information about the new opportunities that the Affordable Care Act provides for millions of Americans. The more people know, the easier it will be for them to make informed decisions to keep their families healthy.