Latino Enrollment in Exchanges Continues To Lag, Despite Media Blitz
Enrollment advocates have increased their efforts to enroll Latinos in health coverage under the Affordable Care Act, but Latino enrollment continues to lag, Kaiser Health News reports.
While about a third of the country's uninsured population is Latino, government data show that, as of Jan. 16, Latinos made up only 10% of federal exchange signups during the ACA's second enrollment period. The number has increased only slightly from 7% during the opening months of the 2014 enrollment season, according to KHN.
HHS and advocates have responded to the low enrollment numbers with media campaigns and efforts that emphasize in-person assistance. This enrollment season, about one-third of the ACA's media budget went toward Hispanic media, three times the rate that went to the same purpose last year.
Barriers to Access
There have been a number of barriers to enrolling Latinos, according to observers. For example, some potential enrollees might be hesitant out of concern that enrollment might result in an undocumented relative being deported, despite federal officials repeatedly saying that health information will not be used in that manner.
Further, families with mixed immigration statuses can face unique challenges, as certain family members might quality for coverage while others do not.
In addition, language and paperwork requirements can also create barriers.
Outreach toward Latinos also varies among states, according to KHN. A lack of clarity over whether states or the federal government runs an exchange can confuse potential enrollees (Carey, Kaiser Health News, 2/9).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.