Over 1.2 million uninsured Latinos in the United States do not have access to a Spanish-language Obamacare website.
Nearly 60 percent of the state-run exchanges offer consumers only an English version of their Affordable Care Act website, says TogoRun, a Washington, D.C. based health care communications agency.
The 10 states without Spanish language sites account for approximately 10 percent of the total uninsured Latino population living in the United States, according to a 2011 Kaiser Family Foundation analysis of the distribution of the uninsured Hispanic population in the U.S. The Health and Human Services Department expects 10.2 million Latinos to be eligible for coverage in the exchanges.
The states without Spanish language exchange sites are Connecticut, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Idaho, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, Vermont, and Washington.
The findings add to the frustration with the new health law’s services for the Latino population. CuidadoDeSalud.gov, the Spanish language website for the 27 federally run exchanges, still does not allow consumers to enroll electronically. An HHS spokesperson declined to comment on when that feature might be made available and whether it might be related to the technical trouble with Healthcare.gov.
On Monday, President Obama delivered an address from the Rose Garden and encouraged consumers to call 800-318-2596. Spanish-speaking operators are on hand 24 hours a day, seven days a week, HHS said, but for those signing up in state-based exchanges, not all have Spanish-speaking operators readily available, TogoRun found.
Anne Woodbury, TogoRun’s managing director, called the phone center “an old school way” of recruiting enrollees.
“My question to them would be, ‘Why wouldn’t you have these resources?’ ” Woodbury said. “A lot of people are going back to the web because they aren’t making their insurance decisions in one sitting.”