For Parlier resident Alfredo Rosas, attending the community resource fair in Fresno was very important.
The 59-year-old and his wife, María Estrada, 61 don't have health insurance. Both have diabetes.
"We wanted to get information on Obamacare and get the flu shot," said Rosas, who is currently unemployed.
Saturday's fair at the Fresno Fairgrounds was hosted by WE Connect in partnership with Building Healthy Communities: Fresno and local community partners.
Event organizers estimated that more than 10,000 people attended the event which helped individuals and families learn about what the new health care law means for them as well as made it easy for them to have access to many services such as enrollment into CalFresh, free tax preparation, medical services including glucoses screening, blood pressure, vision, dental screening and flu shots. A free food giveaway was available for the first 5,000 families as well as free bike repairs.
"We are here today to help folks to apply to programs like Medi-Cal, food stamps (CalFresh) and Kaiser Kids," said Sandra Celedón, outreach and enrollment manager for Clínica Sierra Vista.
Celedón said the clinic will be orienting people about the Affordable Care Act enrollment coming up in October.
The law, which will be fully implemented in 2014, will allow nearly 6 million, non-elderly, uninsured Californias to obtain health insurance.
For those who were completely eligible to apply for any of those three programs, Celedón said they got help completing the application online during the fair. However, for those who were not eligible at this point, they got the necessary information of what they need to do to get ready if they qualify for affordable low cost health insurance enrollment in October.
"Starting in October, a family of three who makes $26,344 or less per year will be eligible for Medi-Cal under the expansion," Celedón said.
Under the new law, Medi-Cal will expand to citizens and certain legal resident adults at or below 138 percent of the Federal Poverty Level.
Rosas and his wife are one of the many families that will benefit from the Medi-Cal expansion and be able to enroll in October.
"We are very happy about that because we are sick for the rest of our lives," Rosas said. He said right now sometimes they have to make the decision of either visiting the doctor, pay for food and rent or get medicines.
Now that they know they qualify for the Medi-Cal extension, Rosas and Estrada feel relieve.
"It's very hard. Sometime we don't have the money to pay $44 for our medicines or $25 for the strips to check our blood sugar," Estrada said.
For those who don't qualify for Medi-Cal under the expansion, Celedón said they could qualify for the state's new health insurance marketplace called Covered California, which will allow people to find and purchase affordable coverage options.
"A family of three making $78,120, will be eligible for subsidy help insurance through Covered California," Celedón said.
"More people in California will be able to afford free or low-cost health insurance," she said.
"We know that when people don't have health coverage, they are not as likely to see preventive care to keep themselves healthy," said Norma Forbes, executive director of Fresno Healthy Communities Access Partners. "They wait until they are very sick and go to the ER."
Forbes said the Medi-Cal expansion and the low cost health insurance "will make California healthier."
"This event gets people expose to the resources about health care," Forbes said. "Health insurance is an important step to get health care. But there still going to be a large number of people who won't be able to get Obamacare."
Dr. Edward Moreno, Fresno County Department of Public Health director and health officer, said the county have a high number of people who are uninsured and from those who are insure, a high percent of them are in Medi-Cal.
"Those facts reflect the high rate of poverty and unemployment in Fresno County," Moreno said.
Fresno City Councilmember Sal Quintero was glad to see so many people attending the fair.
"This is a great event. This people are able to come and get services, not only in health but in taxes, children bikes... everything is under one roof," Quintero said.
Fresno Unified School District board member Luis Chávez agreed.
"It's important to get these resources here. When we have resources in one stop, it makes it much easier for communities that are underserved," Chávez said.
This is the second year the event, which is part of the California Endowment's 'Health Happens Here' initiative, was held in Fresno.
The initiative aims to educate people about preventive health and the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.
"This is bigger than last year," said Sarah Reyes, program manager for The California Endowment. "We have twice as many resources tables. We brought medical services this year. We keep expanding."
Reyes said the Endowment will continue to do outreach events to educate people about the affordable care act.
"It's sad that we have so many people in this county who need and suffer because they don't have health care," Reyes said. "Health care is not something that they should worry about and now with the Affordable Care Act, they don't have to."