Community Foundation of New Jersey

Young Changemaker Helping Uninsured Overcome Healthcare Confusion

November 9, 2015

NPR recently reported that enrollment in the Affordable Care Act continues to be hampered by high costs and general confusion around the law and its requirements.

This is especially relevant to the more than 110,000 Newark residents who are without health insurance.

As part of the Affordable Care Act’s third open enrollment season (November 1, 2015 through January 31, 2016), NPR says “federal officials are hoping to reach about a million uninsured people nationwide [and] Newark is one of five areas – along with Houston, Dallas, Chicago and Miami – where the federal government is focusing enrollment efforts.”

On the ground in New Jersey, we are proud to support the hard work of Aakash Shah, recently honored by the Community Foundation as a “Young Changemaker”, who is working to train and mobilize over 1,000 college students to serve as community health workers and have more than 100,000 in-person, one-on-one conversations with the uninsured about their healthcare options.

Shah founded Be Jersey Strong to coordinate the statewide effort and to be the “helping hand” for uninsured individuals seeking answers and informed input on their health insurance options.

“As a healthcare provider, there are few things more heartbreaking than watching patients leave the hospital with more stress and anxiety than they came in with simply because you gave them the care that they needed,” said Shah. “Be Jersey Strong is a grassroots movement to change that reality, and I couldn’t be more grateful to the Community Foundation of New Jersey for helping us do exactly that.”