Hispanics Could Save Obamacare, If They Sign Up

Image: Hispanics Could Save Obamacare, If They Sign Up

Monday, 09 Dec 2013 03:37 PM

By Courtney Coren

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The 52 million Hispanics living in the United States make up one of the youngest, fastest-growing demographics in the country, and there is growing concern that they won't sign up for Obamacare even though their enrollment could save it, experts say.

Forty percent of Hispanic adults don't have health insurance, and 47 percent of the total Hispanic population is under the age of 27. Without their enrollment, experts say, the numbers needed to make Obamacare work won't add up, The Daily Beast reports.

Activists involved with the Hispanic community say the government is up against a variety of cultural barriers. Some are worried about having a family with a mix of U.S. citizens and undocumented workers.

Hispanics also tend to be reluctant to give their personal financial information to the government, especially if they are paid in cash. Hispanics are also more comfortable with a Spanish-language website.

Spanish language tools were added to HealthCare.gov over the weekend, but the Spanish-language website won't be launched until January, the Washington Post reports.

"The Spanish website, that's a biggie for me, because we're finding that a lot of people would prefer to communicate in Spanish and want bilingual information," Frank Rodriguez, executive director of the Latino Health Forum in Austin, Texas, told The Daily Beast. "That needs to be fixed, and quickly."

The Latino Health Forum has been working over the last two years to help educate Hispanics about Obamacare, but "a lot is going to depend on folks talking to other folks within their local communities."

There are concerns that even after the Spanish-language section of HealthCare.gov is fully functional, some of the state-run exchanges won't be; the state-run exchange in New York, for example, will remain English-only.

Another hurdle for the Hispanic population is that 20 states have opted not to expand Medicaid.

"It's just another thing to deal with," Rodriguez said.

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