WASHINGTON, Aug. 29, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- On Wednesday, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released a rule regarding the requirement of several alternative payment options – including prepaid debit cards, checks, and money orders – for plans offered on the health insurance exchanges as part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC) is committed to this issue and has been urging the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to consider the unbanked by accepting these alternative forms of payment when developing insurance exchanges.

According to a recent study, more than 25% of uninsured Americans eligible for programs under the ACA do not have a checking account - the typical means through which insurance companies require customers to pay their premiums. Without HHS explicitly allowing for other forms of payment, a significant segment of the market which the health exchanges are intended to serve would have been deprived of coverage.

"The USHCC has been fighting on behalf of those who qualify for health care under the Affordable Care Act, but could have been denied coverage for not having a bank account," said USHCC President and CEO Javier Palomarez. "We commend HHS for addressing the needs of this uninsured segment, and are pleased to know that their banking status will not restrict them from receiving affordable healthcare options. Yesterday's rule requires insurers to accept payment by prepaid cards and other avenues for over 8 million 'unbanked' Americans that deserve access to ACA's benefits."

"The recently released rule broadening payment options on the health exchanges is a substantial victory for the Hispanic community, which remains overrepresented among the unbanked," stated USHCC Chairman Marc Rodriguez. "American families outside of the banking mainstream will now have additional options as they pay for their coverage."

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