Lagging Latino ACA Enrollment (Pt 1 of 3)

heart3 300x400Why does it matter.

Much is being written about the lagging Latino enrollment in the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  Articles from coast to coast present various viewpoints and opinions about this poor showing along with suggestions on how to increase the final enrollment numbers.  As there is little time left to sign people up, the federal and state marketplaces are revising their outreach efforts with the hope that the final enrollment numbers will include a higher percentage of the Latino uninsureds.

From the very beginning, we have known many critical characteristics about the Latino uninsured population.

  • Numbers.  At least one in three Latinos in the U.S. is uninsured, which is a far higher number than other segments.  In states like California, Texas and Florida, the numbers are much higher.
  • Demographics.  On average this uninsured segment tends to be younger and healthier.  It includes low-wage earners and self-employed.  Uninsured Latinos may have limited English proficiency, be bilingual, or speak English only; indigenous populations may speak neither.
  • Health care insurance experience.  Many uninsured Latinos have little experience with health insurance concepts such as pre-existing conditions, in-network, out-of-network or deductibles.
  • Computers.  Some uninsured Latinos have limited computer knowledge or do not have access to a computer.

Why do these lagging numbers matter?

One of the basic risk management tenets is to attract and retain as many young, healthy people as possible into an underwriting pool, which keeps the average premium down for all enrollees.  The participation of the Latino uninsured population, which tends to be younger and healthier, is critical to keeping premiums affordable.

Knowing many of the critical characteristics of this uninsured group should have made the marketing and outreach strategy simple and effective.  Well, it didn’t go exactly as planned.  Why?

Read Part 2 of this series to learn “What went wrong.”


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