State Still Doesn't Know How Many Latinos Signed Up for Health Insurance


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Robert Cyr

While nationally, millions of Latinos in the US failed to sign up for federally-mandated healthcare insurance through the Affordable Care Act, in Connecticut, data is still not available on how many Latinos signed up locally during the enrollment period that ended in March.
While Latinos made up 29 percent of all the country’s uninsured before the ACA, only about 10 percent of all enrollees who signed up for insurance through ObamaCare were Latino, according to a study from the Department of Health and Human Services.
The report adds that 31 percent of the country’s 8 million enrollees did not report an ethnicity, and those who identified as Latino made up 7.4 percent of enrollments in states with federal exchanges.  The report also leaves out statistics from the 15 state-run exchanges, including Connecticut.
Access Health CT, the state body tasked with implementing the ACA in Connecticut, is completing its ethnic data of enrollees, said spokesperson Kathleen Tallarita. Access Health CT enrolled about 80,000 members in private insurance programs and more than 120,000 in Medicaid during this last open enrollment period, she said.
“The application asked for consumers to identify their ethnic background, but it was voluntary so most did not answer the question,” she said. “To date, our data is incomplete on ethnicity, but we are planning an extensive analysis over the summer months to determine race, ethnicity and insured status at the time of enrollment, so we can better understand the impact of the ACA in Connecticut.”
State data in March showed about 50,000 uninsured Latino adults shortly before the October launch of the ACA. A fast-tack program geared for Latinos called the “No Wrong Door” initiative is set to begin in 2015. It’s estimated that with NWD put in place, the number of uninsured Latinos could fall as low as 25,000. While 65,000 of the state’s 338,000 uninsured are undocumented immigrants, they are not eligible for any programs with the ACA.
Latinos make up 14.2 percent of the state population and account for 16.9 percent of the U.S. population, according to recent Census data.
According to federal data, 62.9 percent of reporting enrollees are white; 16.7 percent are African American; 10.7 percent are Latino, and 7.9 percent are Asian. More than 4.8 million enrolled in Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program through the end of March, compared to enrollment before marketplaces opened in October 2013.
“There is no magic number for the percentage of young adults, Latinos, or other demographic groups necessary to ensure the viability of the marketplaces.  A number of issuers have said that their enrollment is consistent with their pricing,” said Department of Health and Human Resources spokesman Richard Olague.
U.S. border states had highest Latino enrollment in federal marketplaces, with Texas at 33.6 percent, New Mexico at 31.1 percent, Arizona at 24.2 percent and Florida at 19.2 percent, according to the report.