Health & Human Services

States Struggle to Get Latinos Covered

February 14, 2014
 

With an estimated 15 percent of the country’s uninsured population, California is crucial to the success of President Obama’s health care overhaul. Here, that success cannot come without enrolling Latinos, who make up more than half of the state’s uninsured.

But so far, enrollment of Latinos has fallen strikingly below the hopes of the law’s proponents, accounting for 20 percent or fewer of those who had signed up on the state-run health insurance exchange by the end of December. Now, state officials are rushing to expand marketing efforts and hire additional Spanish-speaking staff, hoping to sharply increase that number by March 31, when open enrollment in the new insurance plans ends.

Enrollment problems are playing out in other states with large Hispanic populations as well, including Arizona and Texas, counselors who work with immigrants said. But California stands out as the most troubling case, proponents of the law say, because it has the most Latinos of any state and has worked hard to enroll them.

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