Covered California Focusing on Enrolling Uninsured Latinos
Covered California is heavily focusing its enrollment efforts on uninsured Latinos in California, the San Jose Mercury News reports (Seipel, San Jose Mercury News, 12/14).
Latinos are seen as being key to the success of the Affordable Care Act. Many Latinos are uninsured, and they pose a lower financial risk because they typically are younger and healthier than other uninsured residents.
During the first open enrollment period, 46% of California residents eligible for government health insurance subsidies were Latino. However, about 31% of state residents who enrolled in coverage during the first open enrollment period were Latino (California Healthline, 11/18).
According to the Mercury News, many Latinos face barriers to coverage, such as the:
- Inability to afford a health plan; and
- Fear that signing up for coverage could alert authorities about the presence of undocumented immigrants.
Details of Efforts To Enroll Latinos
According to Covered California Executive Director Peter Lee, the exchange is using about 40% of its $29 million media budget to target the approximately 600,000 uninsured Latinos who are eligible for subsidized coverage.
In addition, Covered California has doubled the number of its enrollment counselors who speak Spanish.
However, Lee noted that the fear of exposing undocumented immigrants remains an "absolutely huge" roadblock to enrolling Latinos, despite assurances that their information will not be used to enforce immigration laws. In response to those concerns, the exchange this month unveiled a partnership with immigrant-rights groups to help spread the word that information on the health plan applications will be kept confidential.
Lee said he is confident that the exchange's efforts to target uninsured Latinos will be reflected positively in the next batch of enrollment numbers, which are expected to be released in January (San Jose Mercury News, 12/14).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.