Latino Health Coverage might slip During Open Enrollment Season
Community activists fear that the Trump administration’s approach toward the open enrollment period for the health law’s insurance marketplaces could reverse advances made in the number of Latinos covered. Last year, Latinos were highly sought customers for the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) marketplace plans, but they are not getting the same attention this year. Unfortunately, a shorter enrollment window and cutbacks in federal funding for marketing and navigator groups have the potential to allow Latino enrollment to slip. Daniel Bouton, director of health services for the Community Council of Greater Dallas, a non-profit that helps Latinos sign up for health care, states,
Since the new government took office, when raids increased and the legal status of ‘Dreamers’ was in jeopardy, people started canceling their appointments with the navigators, and stopped enrolling their children in Medicaid or CHIP.
Enrollment outreach efforts during the Obama administration mainly targeted Latinos, because they have a high uninsured rate and a large proportion of the community is young and fairly healthy, which is a criteria prized by insurers. The uninsured rate among Latinos dropped from 43 percent in 2010 to under 25 percent in 2016. One of the greatest hurdles to enrollment for Latinos is the fear of deportations. Undocumented immigrants do not have the right to buy health insurance through the ACA markets, but there are thousands of families with mixed immigration status, and advocates fear they may be hesitant to buy insurance or apply for subsidies to help pay for coverage. Hopefully more Latinos that are uninsured and are eligible to apply for insurance through the ACA marketplace will apply before the deadline on December 15, 2017.