America’s health care system is quite different from that of other nations. For immigrants coming to the country, the system can be a bit daunting, especially when insurance is considered. The vast majority of immigrants arriving in the U.S. have little to no experience with insurance and have no idea where to start looking to obtain the best and most affordable coverage. This is a problem that the Cameroon American Council seeks to rectify by teaching immigrants about the importance of insurance coverage.
Sylvie Bello is a Cameroonian immigrant who leads the council. Just over a year ago, Bello approached the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid with a proposition: She would connect the agency with leaders of migrant communities in order for them to be taught about insurance and the laws governing the health system. The initiative was adopted and it became the first program of its kind in the U.S.
Education regarding the health care system is becoming much more important as last year’s health care reform law comes into effect. The law is expected to make insurance coverage more affordable to low-income groups and individuals, a benefit that immigrants will be unable to take advantage of if they are not aware of its existence. The Cameroon American Council is working to spread awareness of health insurance and how it can be attained through insurance exchanges that will be set up in states by 2014.