More Federal Support to Help Communities of Color Get Covered

By William Tomasko

Communities of color are more likely to be uninsured, and new federal grant awards announced last week will give a boost to organizations reaching out to these populations about affordable and comprehensive health coverage options.

As part of the new Partnerships to Increase Coverage in Communities (PICC) Initiative, the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health awarded $3.2 million in grants to 13 organizations working to increase enrollment among racial and ethnic minorities. These groups on the ground will empower communities with information about how to get covered and stay covered. Click here to see full list of grantees.

During the first open enrollment period (OE1), enrollment stakeholders learned how outreach and education campaigns can close coverage gaps for communities of color — and how getting the word out about the availability of financial help and in-person application assistance can boost enrollment.

In particular, we saw that African Americans and Latinos were 43 percent more likely to seek in-person assistance than their white counterparts and that consumers who received in-person assistance were twice as likely to successfully enroll in coverage than those who attempted enrolling online without help.

We also learned that getting the word out about financial help is especially important. An April survey by PerryUndem Research and Communication found that African Americans and Latinos were less aware of the financial help available than their white counterparts. The survey also found that consumers with more information — including knowing about financial assistance — were more likely to enroll. And even though African American and Latino consumers started with some of the lowest enrollment rates during the first few months of OE1, the gap nearly vanished for those who were contacted by outreach volunteers at least three times.

We congratulate the grantees and are excited to begin working together as we gear up for OE2.

If you’re looking for more information about how to reach specific communities, including Latinos, African Americans, and young adults, look out for our #Ready4OE2 series of webinars and blog posts in October. We will feature best practices for outreach and in-reach, in addition to many other topics, so stay tuned!

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