California could serve as a model for overcoming barriers to expanding health coverage to uninsured Latino populations, according to an analysis by the Commonwealth Fund, The Hill reports.
Details of Analysis
According to the analysis, the Affordable Care Act has helped expand health insurance to Latino populations, but the uninsured rate remains high.
The analysis found that the uninsured rate for Latinos nationwide fell from 40% to 34% between 2012 and 2014. In comparison, the uninsured rate among:
-Blacks fell from 20% to 18% during the same time period; and
-Whites fell from 14% to 10% during the same time period.
Meanwhile, states that have expanded Medicaid eligibility — including California — had lower uninsured rates than non-expansion states. Specifically, the analysis found that 26% of Latinos were uninsured in expansion states, compared with 46% in non-expansion states.
The analysis also identified several barriers to expanding health insurance to Latinos. For instance, about 79% of uninsured Latinos speak English “just a little” or “not at all.”
California Could Be Model
The Commonwealth Fund cited California — which has about 14 million Latino residents — as a model for how to overcome such barriers.
For example, the analysis noted that California:
-Does not have a five-year delay before documented immigrants become eligible for coverage; and
-Has invested in wide outreach efforts (Sullivan, The Hill, 4/27).
The analysis cited a Kaiser Family Foundation study that found about 50% of all previously uninsured Latinos in California gained coverage during the ACA’s first open enrollment period (Commonwealth Fund analysis, 4/27).