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Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Exchange Increases Outreach to African-Americans Ahead of Deadline

Very few African-Americans have enrolled in health plans through Covered California, and exchange officials are trying to ramp up outreach efforts before the end of the open enrollment period, the Los Angeles Times reports (Karlamangla/Terhune, Los Angeles Times, 3/26).

Details of African-American Enrollment

Of California residents who selected private coverage through Covered California as of Feb. 28, just 2.6% -- or 18,297 individuals -- identified as African-American (California Healthline, 3/14).

African-Americans make up 7% of California's total population, and about 17% of African-Americans in the state lack health insurance.

Some observers say that the state's efforts to target Latino residents might have taken resources away from outreach efforts focused on African-Americans and other populations.

Efforts To Address Low Enrollment Among African-Americans

Stakeholders are ramping up efforts to enroll African-Americans in health coverage through the exchange ahead of the March 31 open enrollment deadline.

Carla Singleton, an L.A. Care marketing manager, said marketing and outreach efforts have been increasing at churches, which often are trusted among African-American individuals.

Enrollment events also have been held at schools and nightclubs as part of the last-minute sign-up efforts.

During an exchange board meeting last week, Robert Ross -- CEO of the California Endowment and a member of the Covered California board -- called low enrollment among African-Americans "disturbing" and asked state officials to exam their outreach strategy toward the demographic before open enrollment reopens in November (Los Angeles Times, 3/26).

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