Originally posted at California Healthline.

With about one month left during open enrollment, Covered California is ramping up its efforts to enroll Latino consumers, and some counties have introduced specific initiatives to reach the that population, HealthyCal reports (Abraham, HealthyCal, 2/24).

Background on Latino Enrollment

More than half of the state’s uninsured population is Latino, and 46% of those eligible for government health insurance subsidies are Latino.

Latinos are seen as being key to the success of the Affordable Care Act. Many Latinos are uninsured, and they pose a lower financial risk because they typically are younger and healthier than other uninsured residents (California Healthline, 1/22).

Last week, state health officials announced that about 45,745 Latinos in California enrolled in health plans through the exchange in January.

In total, 21% of California residents who signed up for health coverage as of the end of January identified as Latino (California Healthline, 2/20).

Details of County Efforts

An outreach effort is underway in Monterey County that seeks to bring information about Covered California to Latinos in the area, according toHealthyCal.

The Monterey County Department of Social Services and county Health Department are working in conjunction with agencies in Santa Cruz and San Benito counties to enroll Latino consumers in health coverage through the exchange.

The outreach campaign is part of a $500,000 grant and will focus on face-to-face enrollment efforts at different locations, such as:

  • Community forums;
  • Farmers markets;
  • Public libraries; and
  • Schools.

According to HealthyCal, outreach educators working on the campaign are Covered California certified and can speak both English and Spanish. Their outreach materials also are available in both languages.

In addition, the Monterey County Health Department has partnered with the Access to Care Coalition to use a $125,000 grant from Blue Shield of California to help inform “underserved populations” — including some Spanish speakers — about their health coverage options.

Meanwhile, several health systems and safety-net clinics in the area also have expanded outreach efforts and increased access to enrollment counselors at their facilities.

For example, the Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare System has begun running bilingual television advertisements focusing on Latino enrollment. Salinas Valley also has:

  • Increased the number of bilingual enrollment counselors in its hospitals; and
  • Developed and placed education materials about coverage options for Latinos in hospital waiting rooms and emergency departments.

Salud Para la Gente in Watsonville, which primarily serves farm workers and their families, also has hosted health fairs and workshops on ACA enrollment (HealthyCal, 2/24).