A new report issued by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) finds that that nearly 8 in 10 uninsured Latinos may qualify for Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), or lower costs on monthly premiums through the Health Insurance Marketplace. If all states took advantage of new opportunities to expand Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act, 95 percent of uninsured Latinos might qualify for Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), or tax credits to help with the cost of premiums in the Marketplace.
“The health care law addresses longstanding inequalities that have affected minority communities across the nation, including lack of access to affordable health insurance coverage,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. “Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, 10.2 million uninsured Latinos have the opportunity to purchase quality, affordable coverage through the Marketplace, and as many as 8 million of those could get a break on costs.”
According to the report, 1 in 4 uninsured individuals who are eligible for the Marketplace nationwide are Latino (10.2 million out of 41.3 million individuals). The majority (62 percent) live in California, Texas, and Florida; about half (4.6 million or 46 percent) are between the ages of 18 and 35.
Among those Latinos who are eligible for Marketplace coverage nationwide, about 3.9 million may be eligible for lower costs on monthly premiums, and 4.2 million may be eligible for Medicaid or CHIP. The report details uninsurance rates by state and provides several examples of what premiums might look like for Latinos living in major metropolitan areas. For example, a 27 year old with an income of $25,000 living in Miami, Florida could pay as little as $87 for a bronze plan. In Houston, Texas he or she could pay as little as $99 after factoring in premium tax credits.
The majority (63 percent) of uninsured Hispanic Americans who are eligible for coverage in the Marketplace either speak English as a first language, or “very well” as a second language. About one-third (37 percent) rely on Spanish, and 27 percent live in a household without an English-speaking adult present. This is why from the beginning HHS’s outreach has been a bilingual effort. Since October 1, the diverse Latino community has had access to multiple resources to help with enrollment in the Marketplace, including applying by phone with trained call center staff offering bilingual help, or in person with trained specialists in local communities.
Latinos can enroll in Spanish through CuidadodeSalud.gov where consumers can create accounts, complete an online application, and shop for health plans that fit their budget and needs.
CuidadoDeSalud.gov now supports a more robust window shopping experience. Consumers can see detailed information about each Marketplace health insurance plan offered in their area before they apply. They can compare plans, covered benefits, physician and hospital networks, and plan prices based on household information they supply, all without a login or application. Consumers will still need to complete the application to find out how they can get lower costs.
Enrollment in the Marketplace is open until March 31.
Available tools for enrollments include:
-Online through HealthCare.gov or in Spanish at CuidadoDeSalud.gov;
-Over the phone by calling the 24/7 customer service center (1-800-318-2596, TTY 1-855-889-4325);
-Working with a trained person in your local community (A Find Local Help section is available on both HealthCare.gov and CuidadoDeSalud.gov);
-Submitting a paper application by mail.