Millions of Uninsured Latinos Live in States Without Spanish Obamacare Sites

More than ten percent of the total eligible Latino population doesn’t have Spanish web resources about Affordable Care Act insurance.

President Obama greets a crowd at a largely Latino high school in Denver,Co.
National Journal
Clara Ritger
Oct. 23, 2013, 6:06 a.m.

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.”

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