Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Hispanics Key to Obamacare Implementation
Health Overhaul Targets Hispanics: Uninsured Hispanics Represent Big Opportunity for Insurers, the Government.
Wall Street Journal Headline, April 21, 2013
If you can mobilize Obamacae support from Hispanics,  the fastest growing US demographic segment, you are the right side of history.  Hispanics voted overwhelming for Obama in the last two elections., and they hold the key to Obamacare implementation.
Stark Facts
About 10.2 million of the 53 million Hispanics in the US qualify for health care coverage under the law. The average age of Hispanics is 28, compared to 37 for the overall population.  They represent the wave of the future.   Their median income is $39,000, above the national average of $51,000.  Hispanics account for one-third of people without health insurance.  The top five states with number of nonelderly uninsured Hispanics  are: California 59%, Texas 60%, Florida 35%  Illinois 29%, and  New York 29%.
But problems exist in signing up Hispanics for exchanges.  
·         One, Hispanics often live in households with a mix of legal  and illegal immigrants. Legal immigrants don’t qualify for Medicaid unless they have been in the country for 5 years.   And even if they do qualify, they fear exposing undocumented family members.  

·         Two,  Hispanics  are confused about Obamacare; 69% say the law is “confusing and complicated” and 71% can’t name an provision in the law that applies to them.   They may not even know what a “premium” or a “co-pay” is.   

·         Three,  they do not know if the law affects their Medicare coverage or whether illegal immigrants are covered ( It does not affect Medicare, and the undocumented are not covered.

·         Four, many may not speak English, and explaining the law to the young and their parents will require a small army of bilingual navigators and volunteers  to engage Hispanics in supermarkets, drug stores, Walmart outlets, soccer games, and community health centers.   Mayra Alvariz, HHS  health policy directors, says finding and persuading the young and healthy to sign onto exchanges demands “an all-hands-on-deck effort.”

Even if these problems are overcome,  it may be difficult explaining to young uninsured Hispanics that should become covered on the exchanges,  even with federal subsidies, They may wonder if it is worth the cost  or if they would better off taking their chances and staying uninsured. Navigators,  volunteers, and insurers,  in the words of Ricky Ricardo on "I Love Lucy  show," have "got a  whole lot of ‘splainin’  to do.”  It’s going to require explaining a triligual explanation, in English, Spanish, and Obamanese.

Tweet:   Young healthy uninsured Hispanics, many unfamiliar with Obamacare or confused about health insurance, are key to implementing Obamacare.



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