FREE Community Health Fairs target Santa Cruz County residents

For Jan. 22, 2014

Gary McNeil, County of Santa Cruz Human Services Department
(831) 454-7543

Karim Olaechea, SEIU Local 521
(408) 678-3354

FREE Community Health Fairs Target Santa Cruz County Residents

Jan. 22 & Jan. 24 events feature workshops about low-cost or no-cost insurance through Covered California, Medi-Cal

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. – Nearly 500,000 Californians have successfully enrolled for health care insurance with Covered California since the health exchange opened Oct.1. Santa Cruz County plans to boost that number at two upcoming community health fairs, co-sponsored with Service Employees International Union, Local 521. One will be in Santa Cruz; the second in Watsonville.

County Human Services workers and community nonprofit providers will hold educational workshops every hour walking consumers through their eligibility for programs such as Covered California, Medi-Cal and other county health coverage programs. Following the workshops, participants will have a chance to talk with staff of Salud Para la Gente and will be given a future appointment to complete enrollment.

While California continues to lead the nation in signing people up for low-cost or no-cost health insurance through the Affordable Care Act, there are still many uninsured yet to enroll, and the percentage of Latinos who are signing up is falling short of enrollment expectations. The County estimates that 8,000 newly eligible Medi-Cal clients, and 20,000 uninsured or underinsured who will qualify for tax credits, will be enrolled over the next 2-3 years.

Participating agencies at the FREE community health fairs include: County of Santa Cruz Human Services and Health Departments, City of Watsonville, Santa Cruz Women’s Health Center, Encompass Community Services, American Cancer Society, and others.


  • As of Dec. 31, 2013, nearly 500,000 California residents had enrolled in health coverage through Covered California
  • The number of California residents who signed up for coverage already has surpassed Covered California officials’ minimum estimate of 487,000 enrollees by March 31, when open enrollment ends.
  • Overall, California residents accounted for 22% of the total 2.2 million exchange enrollees nationwide.
  • January data shows 79 percent of people on the marketplaces are receiving financial subsidies.


Santa Cruz Health Fair
WHEN: 1 p.m. – 5 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 22
* PRESS CONFERENCE starts at 12:30 a.m. *
WHERE: Calvary Episcopal Church
532 Center Street
WHO: County Supervisors John Leopold and Neal Coonerty
Giang Nguyen, Health Services Agency Director
Deborah Narvaez, SEIU 521 Director

Watsonville Health Fair
WHEN: 12 Noon – 5 p.m., Friday, Jan. 24
* PRESS CONFERENCE starts at 1 p.m. *

WHERE: Veterans Hall
215 E. Beach Street, Watsonville
WHO: County Supervisor Greg Caput
Rep. Sam Farr
Dori Rose Inda, Salud Para La Gente, Chief Executive Officer
Deborah Narvaez, SEIU 521 Director

The Service Employees International Union is an organization of 2.1 million members united by the belief in the dignity and worth of workers and the services they provide. SEIU is dedicated to improving the lives of workers and their families and creating a more just and humane society. For more information, visit

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