Commentary: Korean Americans to Benefit From the Affordable Care Act


As a physician for over 30 years, I have seen among my patients both the benefits of having health insurance as well as the problems of lacking it. For the Korean American community, one in three individuals lacks health insurance. In addition, Korean Americans are at risk for many preventable diseases, such as stomach and liver cancer.

The good news is that the Affordable Care Act provides Korean Americans new options for affordable health insurance that covers a range of benefits, including important preventive services with no out-of-pocket costs for millions of Americans.


More than 4.2 million Americans have already enrolled in health coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace. Millions of consumers and thousands of Korean Americans are now enjoying the peace of mind that comes with new health coverage.

In California, Mr. Kim*, a 52-year-old Korean American man, used to pay about $1,200 per month for health insurance for himself and his young son. However, after the economy weakened, it became too expensive for him to pay, and he was forced to make the decision to go without health insurance.  But he was concerned about this decision because of his age and health conditions. During his enrollmentscreening appointment, where he received in-person assistance in Korean, he discovered that the health plans were much more affordable than he had thought. Now, he will only pay $103 per month to cover himself and his son. He was so pleased that he planned to encourage his friends and family to sign up.

I encourage you to visit to sign up for affordable healthcare. Across the country, six out of 10 uninsured Americans can get covered for $100 per month or even less.


For those who are limited in their English proficiency, there are also educational materials available in Asian languages at

If you or someone you care about is uninsured, it’s not too late to sign up for quality, affordable coverage—but you’ll want to act today and before March 31. If you don’t enroll by March 31, you can’t enroll again until November 2014.

Sign up today online at; over the phone with help available in 150 languages at the 24/7 call center at 1-800-318-2596; or directly through an issuer, agent or broker. You can also find in-person assistance in your community at

*Name changed by request. Statistics and consumer stories provided by the Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations.

Dr. Howard K. Koh is Assistant Secretary for Health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.