Report: ACA Helps Cut Uninsured Rate Among Latinos in Calif.
The Affordable Care Act has helped significantly reduce the number of uninsured Latinos, particularly in California, which has the largest Latino population in the country, according to a report from the Commonwealth Fund, the Los Angeles Times reports.
The report is based on responses to two surveys of a random, nationally representative sample of U.S. residents ages 19 to 64.
Before the ACA went into effect, Latinos made up about 60% of uninsured California residents, according to the Times (Levey, Los Angeles Times, 9/24). However, a recent survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that Latino enrollment in health coverage during the first open enrollment period in California was higher than expected, with 61% of eligible Latinos gaining insurance (California Healthline, 8/21).
Commonwealth Fund Report Findings
Nationally, the report found that the percentage of uninsured Latinos between ages 19 and 64 dropped from 36% to 23% between 2013 and 2014.
Further, in states that expanded Medicaid, like California, the uninsured rate among working-age Latino adults was cut in half, from 35% to 17%, compared with no statistical change in non-expansion states (Los Angeles Times, 9/24).
The report highlighted efforts in California to boost insurance enrollment among Latinos, such as:
- Adding Spanish-speaking counselors to call center hotlines to assist those seeking personal assistance;
- Expanding Medicaid; and
- Improving outreach to Latinos.
For example, California health plans placed advertisements on buses and food trucks that often serve Latino neighborhoods, and conducted presentations at language classes and churches (Commonwealth Fund report, September 2014).
According to the report, California's experience could be informative when the second enrollment period begins Nov. 15 (Los Angeles Times, 9/24).
Meanwhile, Alfonso Vega -- who operates several AltaMed community clinics in Southern California -- said that more Latinos in California now are seeking preventive care rather than skipping or delaying care.
He said, "There's countless patients that we're seeing that are seeing a primary care doctor every 90 days like they're supposed to -- getting all the tests that they're supposed to have done on a periodic basis" (Clark, "Marketplace," American Public Media, 9/25).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.