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 »
PROCEDURES NOT FOLLOWED
Trump Not on Ballot in Minnesota
2 days ago
THE LATEST
MOB RULE?
Trump on Immigration: ‘I Don’t Know, You Tell Me’
2 days ago
THE LATEST

Perhaps Donald Trump can take a plebiscite to solve this whole messy immigration thing. At a Fox News town hall with Sean Hannity last night, Trump essentially admitted he's "stumped," turning to the audience and asking: “Can we go through a process or do you think they have to get out? Tell me, I mean, I don’t know, you tell me.”

Source:
BIG CHANGE FROM WHEN HE SELF-FINANCED
Trump Enriching His Businesses with Donor Money
4 days ago
WHY WE CARE

Donald Trump "nearly quintupled the monthly rent his presidential campaign pays for its headquarters at Trump Tower to $169,758 in July, when he was raising funds from donors, compared with March, when he was self-funding his campaign." A campaign spokesman "said the increased office space was needed to accommodate an anticipated increase in employees," but the campaign's paid staff has actually dipped by about 25 since March. The campaign has also paid his golf courses and restaurants about $260,000 since mid-May.

Source:
QUESTIONS OVER IMMIGRATION POLICY
Trump Cancels Rallies
4 days ago
THE LATEST

Donald Trump probably isn't taking seriously John Oliver's suggestion that he quit the race. But he has canceled or rescheduled rallies amid questions over his stance on immigration. Trump rescheduled a speech on the topic that he was set to give later this week. Plus, he's also nixed planned rallies in Oregon and Las Vegas this month.

Source:
‘STRATEGY AND MESSAGING’
Sean Hannity Is Also Advising Trump
5 days ago
THE LATEST

Donald Trump's Fox News brain trust keeps growing. After it was revealed that former Fox chief Roger Ailes is informally advising Trump on debate preparation, host Sean Hannity admitted over the weekend that he's also advising Trump on "strategy and messaging." He told the New York Times: “I’m not hiding the fact that I want Donald Trump to be the next president of the United States. I never claimed to be a journalist.”

Source:
×