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White House Pushes to Close Asian-American Health Insurance Gap with Week of Action

Since open enrollment under the Affordable Care Act began in 2013, the number of people in the United States without health insurance has fallen by nearly 18 million, but more than 200,000 Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders still remain uninsured, according to the White House.

To help close that gap by the Jan. 31 enrollment deadline, the White House is hosting its third annual AAPI Affordable Care Act Week of Action starting Tuesday, Jan. 19 to address access barriers within the Asian-American community when it comes to healthcare.

“There are still many Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders across the country who remain uninsured for various reasons — lack of language access, confusion over eligibility, and limited knowledge of health insurance," Dour Thor, executive director of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (WHIAAPI), told NBC News. "We are also seeing high needs in certain subgroups, such as Native Hawaiians, Pacific Islanders, and Southeast Asian refugee populations. This week of action aims to expand outreach to the farthest corners of the community.”

The week of action kicks off Tuesday with a call between Surgeon General Vivek Murthy and stakeholders in the Asian-American community. The following day, actor George Takei and Angry Asian Man blogger Phil Yu will take to Twitter to discuss healthcare using the hashtag #AAPIHealth.

The White House will be highlighting in-person assisters from Action for Health Justice — multilingual community members who are trained to help those enrolling for health insurance — as well as the White House's translated enrollment materials. Community organizations are also scheduled to hold local enrollment events throughout the week.

The last day to enroll for health insurance for 2016 through the Affordable Care Act is Jan. 31, 2016.

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Correction: An earlier version of this article stated that in-person assisters were trained by the White House. They are trained by Action for Health Justice.