Latinos still lagging in Obamacare enrollment

Latinos still lagging in Obamacare enrollment

Latinos are lagging, but it's unclear why.

With one in three Latinos living in the U.S. not having access to health insurance, Latinos may benefit from the benefits of Obamacare more than any other demographic. However, despite this obvious gain, Latinos just aren’t signing up, according to the latest reports.

A report made by the Commonwealth Fund Survey says that 20 percent of African Americans and only 19 percent of Latinos have sought out insurance benefits through the Obamacare exchanges, versus the 28 percent of Caucasians who have looked into healthcare through the new program.

While California is currently the only state that requests applicants to state the origin of their ethnicity, advocates in other states say that it has been very challenging trying to get Latino and other minority groups to apply in their states as well. Advocates of the program speculate a range of reasons as to why Latinos are less likely to sign up then people from other demographics, including an overall lack of awareness.

According to a report made by the Commonwealth Fund Survey, only 49 percent of Latinos were even aware of their state’s exchange, compared to a 68 percent awareness among Caucasians. One of the reasons believe to be responsible for this is lack of bilingual advocates in high-density Latino populations. Others have indicated a delay in Spanish-language websites as contributing to lack of awareness, as much of the information Spanish-speaking Latino-Americans seek is inaccessible.

Others believe the lack of sign-ups are due to fear of deportation. While most Latinos living in the U.S. are citizens, many Latino families live with one or more family members who are illegal immigrants. Advocates for the program believe that even these citizens fear signing up for the exchange, as it could potentially draw attention to their household and any illegal immigrants they share their home with.

As advocates continue to encourage minority groups such as Latino-Americans to sign up for the exchange, Mary Sienko, marketing director for MNsure, says the most important way to spread awareness is through trusted community partners.

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