Kaiser Health News: Latino Enrollment Key To Success Of Health Law Marketplaces

By Jenny Gold

KHN Staff Writer

JUN 25, 2013

This KHN story was produced in collaboration with NPR

Andrea Velandia, 29, is just the sort of person health law regulators are seeking to draw into the new online insurance marketplaces– young, healthy, uninsured and Latino.

Promotora Elva Jaldin teaches Andrea Velandia, who holds her newborn son, about breast cancer risk at the CASA de Maryland legal clinic (Photo by Jenny Gold/KHN).

“We’re very healthy. We don’t have many issues,” she says of her family. Right now, she and her husband mostly avoid the health system because “it’s very expensive to go to the doctor to get a regular checkup. And you only have an option to go to the emergency room, which is even more expensive.”

On Oct. 1, Velandia, who is from Colombia, will be able to sign up her family of four for a subsidized health insurance policy in the new Maryland Health Benefit Exchange, the state’s online marketplace for insurance policies created under by the Affordable Care Act.

Just as Latinos were crucial to President Barack Obama’s re-election success in 2012, they are now key to the success of his health law. And the administration is doing everything it can to make sure that Latinos, like the Velandias, enroll.

Listen to this story

Click below to listen to the accompanying NPR story:

The administration announced this week that Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius will be making the rounds on Spanish-language media outlets to discuss the health law and unveiled the newly revamped CuidadoDeSalud.gov, the Spanish version of HealthCare.gov.

Latinos make up 17 percent of the total U.S. population, but 32 percent of the nation’s uninsured. They’re also more likely to be young – nearly half of Hispanics are under the age of 26. That’s important for the insurance pools because young and healthy people need fewer medical services and insurance companies can use their premiums to help subsidize coverage for older or sicker patients.

Continue reading here: http://www.kaiserhealthnews.org/Stories/2013/June/25/administration-outreach-to-hispanics-on-marketplaces.aspx

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