Immigrant Obamacare enrollees in Washington, D.C., don't need "a working online portal," according to the head of the District's exchange.
"We found working with different, culturally different groups, that having a working online portal is not relevant and that many people — many immigration communities, small business owners and individuals — really like the one-on-one interaction with a trusted voice," Milo Kofman, executive director of the District of Columbia Health Benefit Exchange Authority, said during an Alliance for Health Reform panel discussion on Friday.
Kofman explained that the three largest immigrant communities in D.C. are Spanish-speaking, Ethiopian and Asian people.
"So, we actually have focused a lot of resources into on-the-ground people in the community who can work one-on-one with the small businesses and individuals with all of our diverse populations," she said.
A fellow panelist took a more critical view of the fact that the Obamacare website only is designed to function in two languages, English and Spanish, with 11 languages for print enrollments. The Spanish-language site is not yet live.
"The answer is 'yes,' it's a big barrier," said Katy Caldwell of Legacy Community Health Services.