California’s Obamacare Program Is Succeeding—Just Not Among Latinos

The Golden State boasts massive enrollment numbers, but not among its Spanish-speaking residents.

SACRAMENTO, CA - NOVEMBER 13: Covered California Executive Director Peter Lee speaks during a press conference regarding the number of new healthcare enrollees through CoveredCA.com, the health insurance exchange for the state of California, on November 13, 2013 in Sacramento, California. A total of 30,830 Californians enrolled through the exchange in the month of October, with a total of 59,830 people enrolled through November 12. 
National Journal
Sophie Novack
See more stories about...
Sophie Novack
Feb. 20, 2014, midnight

Cali­for­nia has been a star ex­ample of Obama­care im­ple­ment­a­tion done right, ex­cept when it comes to en­rolling its largest un­in­sured pop­u­la­tion: Lati­nos.

With six weeks re­main­ing in the open en­roll­ment peri­od, Covered Cali­for­nia — the state-based in­sur­ance ex­change — has already ex­ceeded its pro­jec­ted en­roll­ment goal, with 828,638 signed up for cov­er­age as of Feb. 14. Between the ex­change and Medi­caid, more than 1.6 mil­lion Cali­for­ni­ans en­rolled in cov­er­age from Oct. 1 to Jan. 31.

But for all its suc­cess, Cali­for­nia’s out­reach has faltered among Lati­nos.

A full 46 per­cent — or 1.2 mil­lion — of the 2.6 mil­lion Cali­for­ni­ans who are es­tim­ated to be eli­gible for fed­er­al sub­sidies on the ex­change are Latino. However, of the sub­sidy-eli­gible en­rollees thus far who have in­dic­ated their race, Lati­nos make up only 22.5 per­cent.

“From day one fo­cus­ing on Latino en­roll­ment has been our No. 1 pri­or­ity,” said Covered Cali­for­nia Ex­ec­ut­ive Dir­ect­or Peter Lee on Wed­nes­day. “Have we ex­ecuted it per­fectly? No. [But] we’re get­ting bet­ter as we go, and we’re see­ing those res­ults.”

Hop­ing to catch up in the fi­nal weeks of open en­roll­ment, the state ex­change is launch­ing an el­ev­enth-hour mes­saging surge aimed at Latino res­id­ents.

A key ele­ment of the state’s strategy mov­ing for­ward will be in-per­son en­roll­ment. Un­like the fed­er­al mar­ket­place, Covered Cali­for­nia’s Span­ish lan­guage web­site has been up and run­ning since the start of open en­roll­ment on Oct. 1, but oth­er bar­ri­ers have sty­mied sign-ups.

The state has boos­ted in-per­son as­sist­ance, adding more bi­lin­gual en­roll­ment coun­selors and agents. Covered Cali­for­nia has cre­ated part­ner­ships with Latino su­per­mar­kets in South­ern Cali­for­nia to host en­roll­ment events. It has also en­gaged elec­ted of­fi­cials, non­profit or­gan­iz­a­tions, and health care pro­viders. More bi­lin­gual staff are be­ing ad­ded to call cen­ters and out­reach pro­grams.

Covered Cali­for­nia is fur­ther in­creas­ing its mar­ket­ing ef­forts and will spend $8.2 mil­lion through March on Span­ish lan­guage me­dia — an in­crease of 73 per­cent from the first three months.

A new ad cam­paign — Tengo un Plan de Sa­lud, or “I Have a Health Plan,” will high­light Latino Covered Cali­for­nia en­rollees who will ad­dress the im­port­ance of sign­ing up for cov­er­age.

The ini­ti­at­ive will tar­get sev­en re­gions that have high pop­u­la­tions of sub­sidy-eli­gible Lati­nos: Los Angeles (the San Gab­ri­el Val­ley, the San Fernando Val­ley, and South Los Angeles); the In­land Em­pire (San Bern­ardino and River­side counties); and the Cent­ral Val­ley and the San Joa­quin Val­ley (Stock­ton/Mod­esto and Fresno/Bakersfield).

Latino en­roll­ment will go a long way to­ward de­term­in­ing the Af­ford­able Care Act’s suc­cess.

Over­all, 25 per­cent of un­in­sured in­di­vidu­als in the U.S. who are eli­gible for cov­er­age un­der the ACA are Latino. HHS es­tim­ates that 80 per­cent of these eli­gible un­in­sured Lati­nos could qual­i­fy for fin­an­cial as­sist­ance un­der the law — either through fed­er­al sub­sidies on the ex­changes or through Medi­caid.

Cali­for­nia has the largest pop­u­la­tion of eli­gible un­in­sured Lati­nos of any state — the 2.8 mil­lion in the state make up 28 per­cent of all eli­gible un­in­sured Lati­nos in the U.S.

Early signs sug­gest Cali­for­nia is poised for a jump in Latino en­roll­ment. Over 45,000 Lati­nos signed up for cov­er­age in Janu­ary, and Latino en­roll­ment climbed to 28 per­cent, up from only 18 per­cent of cu­mu­lat­ive en­rollees between Oc­to­ber and Decem­ber. En­roll­ment of in­di­vidu­als who iden­ti­fied as Span­ish-speak­ing jumped to 11.5 per­cent in Janu­ary, from 5 per­cent in pre­vi­ous months.

What We're Following See More »
‘PRESUMPTIVE NOMINEE’
Priebus Asks Party to Unite Behind Trump
7 hours ago
THE LATEST
FEELING THE MIDWESTERN BERN
Sanders Upsets Clinton in Indiana
8 hours ago
THE LATEST

Despite trailing Hillary Clinton by a significant margin, Bernie Sanders wasn't going the way of Ted Cruz tonight. The Vermont senator upset Clinton in Indiana, with MSNBC calling the race at 9pm. Sanders appears poised to win by a five- or six-point spread.

Source:
TRUMP IS PRESUMPTIVE NOMINEE
Ted Cruz Bows Out, Effectively Ceding the Contest to Trump
9 hours ago
THE LATEST

And just like that, it's over. Ted Cruz will suspend his presidential campaign after losing badly to Donald Trump in Indiana tonight. "While Cruz had always hedged when asked whether he would quit if he lost Indiana; his campaign had laid a huge bet on the state." John Kasich's campaign has pledged to carry on. “From the beginning, I’ve said that I would continue on as long as there was a viable path to victory,” said Cruz. “Tonight, I’m sorry to say it appears that path has been foreclosed."

Source:
TAKES AT LEAST 45 DELEGATES
Trump Wins Indiana, All but Seals the Nomination
9 hours ago
THE LATEST

The Republican establishment's last remaining hope—a contested convention this summer—may have just ended in Indiana, as Donald Trump won a decisive victory over Ted Cruz. Nothing Cruz seemed to have in his corner seemed to help—not a presumptive VP pick in Carly Fiorina, not a midwestern state where he's done well in the past, and not the state's legions of conservatives. Though Trump "won't secure the 1,237 delegates he needs to formally claim the nomination until June, his Indiana triumph makes it almost impossible to stop him. Following his decisive wins in New York and other East Coast states, the Indiana victory could put Trump within 200 delegates of the magic number he needs to clinch the nomination." Cruz, meanwhile, "now faces the agonizing choice of whether to remain in the race, with his attempt to force the party into a contested convention in tatters, or to bow out and cede the party nomination to his political nemesis." The Associated Press, which called the race at 7pm, predicts Trump will win at least 45 delegates.

Source:
THE QUESTION
What’s the Average Household Income of a Trump Voter?
14 hours ago
THE ANSWER

Seventy-two thousand dollars, according to FiveThirtyEight. That's higher than the national average, as well as the average Clinton or Sanders voter, but lower than the average Kasich voter.

Source:
×