Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month? Include Health Coverage!

By Jose L. Plaza and Lianna Stroster

From September 15 to October 15, communities, organizations, and individuals are honoring Hispanic Heritage Month across the country. Enroll America partners like Voto Latino, the National Council of La Raza, the League of United Latin American Citizens, and various members of the National Latino Health Coalition are taking this occasion to celebrate gains in insurance coverage that Latinos have made thanks to the Affordable Care Act. Over the last two years, Latino communities have seen a larger reduction in the uninsured rate than any other demographic group. But Latinos are still more likely to be uninsured than any other ethnic group: 1 in 5 Latinos are currently living without health insurance. The good news: We can help change that.

So while we celebrate the progress we’ve made, we also need to make sure that Latinos who are still uninsured have the information they need to enroll in quality, affordable health coverage.

Whether it’s tabling at a community parade, reaching out via social media, or through earned media coverage, there are a number of ways to reach people during (and after!) Hispanic Heritage Month. A few key pieces of information to share:

  • Financial assistance is available: 4 out of 5 Spanish-speaking Latinos don’t realize that financial help is available, even though 84 percent of Americans who enrolled in the health insurance marketplaces got financial assistance to make their plan more affordable. Help spread the word within your network and increase the number of Latinos aware of financial assistance.
  • In-person application help is available: Latinos are more likely to say they want one-on-one enrollment assistance than other Americans. Connect them to free in-person assistance with an enrollment expert in their neighborhood by encouraging them to find someone in their area or even schedule an appointment via the Get Covered Connector, which also has a Spanish-language version.
  • Plans must cover crucial health care services: Latinos are almost twice as likely to be diagnosed with diabetes, but now Latinos who suffer from such chronic illnesses cannot be denied coverage, and they can get the care they need to prevent or manage their symptoms. Let them know that plans under the Affordable Care Act are required to cover essential benefits and are included when they enroll in a plan. A new tool launching next month, the Get Covered Plan Explorer, will offer personalized estimates of how much people would pay out of pocket over the course of a year with different plans based on their medical and financial situation.

Getting covered can help address some of the most difficult health care challenges facing the Latino community. That’s why it’s so important, as we celebrate the many ways Latinos have helped build our country and shape our culture, that we also help them lead healthier and more financially secure lives by enrolling in and retaining health coverage. And even after this month is over, and especially when open enrollment starts, make sure to keeping on sharing information on enrollment and health care with the Latino community to continue decreasing the number of uninsured Latinos.

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