The number of Latinos who enrolled in health plans through California’s health insurance exchange surged in the final month of open enrollment, according to state data released Thursday, the Los Angeles Times reports (Reston, Los Angeles Times, 4/3).
More than half of the state’s uninsured population is Latino, and 46% of state residents eligible for government health insurance subsidies are Latino.
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.
About 38% of residents who were found likely to be eligible for Medi-Cal, or 431,680 individuals, identified as Latino. Medi-Cal is the state’s Medicaid program.
Over the past several weeks, the state has increased its outreach efforts targeted at Latinos.
In addition to holding community events in areas of California with large Latino populations, the exchange made improvements to its Spanish-language website and added more bilingual employees. Covered California also launched a new marketing campaign that includes Latinos who are now enrolled in coverage (California Healthline, 3/17).
In a conference call with reporters on Thursday, Covered California Executive Director Peter Lee said 36% of March enrollees identified as Latino (Los Angeles Times, 4/3).
Earlier on Thursday, Lee testified before the House Oversight and Government Reform committee to discuss Covered California’s efforts (Colliver, San Francisco Chronicle, 4/4).
In total, 252,000 of the exchange’s 1.2 million enrollees identified as Latino, close to Covered California’s goal of 265,000.
For more on the latest Covered California enrollment numbers, see today’s Capitol Desk post.
Lee said, “I’m happy to note that hard work appeared to have paid off. … Our focus both by region, and on in-person and in-language support, is now making a difference.”
He added, “We’re proud of that accomplishment” and “[w]e think it’s something that is giving peace of mind to many Californians” (Los Angeles Times, 4/3).
While Lee noted that the exchange was “not done” with its enrollment efforts, he said, “The numbers continue to rise and will continue to rise in the coming weeks” (San Francisco Chronicle, 4/4). He added, “[O]ur aspiration is to get everybody covered” (Wolfson, Orange County Register, 4/3).
State Sen. Norma Torres (D-Pomona) praised the increased enrollment numbers, saying, “It is a sign that the legislative pressure we’ve been applying has resulted in Covered California doing a better job of reaching the Latino population,” but she noted “there are still a disproportionately high number of uninsured and eligible Latinos and young adults that need to enroll” (Los Angeles Times, 4/3).
CCHI is a leader in health advocacy for children and families and is recognized as a statewide network of community organizations that champion enrollment in health coverage, access to care and other services.