WASHINGTON, Aug. 20, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC) in a letter today called on the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to consider the unbanked when developing insurance exchanges. A recent study reported that more than one in four uninsured Americans eligible for programs under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) does not have a checking account, the typical means through which insurance companies require customers to pay health insurance premiums. Without the HHS explicitly allowing for other forms of payment, checking account only payments might deprive a significant segment of the market the health exchanges are intended to serve.

"Without an accessible payment channel, over 8 million Americans who are otherwise qualified for the exchanges will be denied coverage when the final rule goes into effect next year," said USHCC President & CEO Javier Palomarez. "The USHCC supports CMS's efforts and urges HHS to include a provision that guarantees that unbanked individuals are given access to insurance coverage and health care."

Last month, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) proposed a rule concerning the process by which eligible individuals may enroll in state-federal partnerships and federally-facilitated insurance exchanges. If approved, the rule will require qualified health plan issuers to accept a variety of payment formats, providing unbanked individuals with more readily available options.

"Extending health insurance to the Americans in the unbanked community will require the provision of a variety of payment options," stated USHCC Chairman Marc Rodriguez. "It is crucial that a system-wide rule is implemented to prevent the disenfranchisement of families from the health insurance marketplace."

About the USHCC

Founded in 1979, the USHCC actively promotes the economic growth and development of Hispanic entrepreneurs and represents the interests of over 3 million Hispanic-owned businesses across the United States that together contribute in excess of $465 billion to the American economy each year. It also serves as the umbrella organization for more than 200 local Hispanic chambers and business associations in the United States and Puerto Rico.

CONTACT: Valentina Pereda USHCC Director of Communications 202-489-2932Source:United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce