December 18, 2018

Changes to Healthcare Laws to benefit Hispanics albeit with Challenges

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By Evelyn C. Castillo August 21, 2013
Latinos health

Latinos healthChanges to the healthcare system under the Affordable Care Act or “Obamacare” stand to greatly benefit the Hispanic population, with some estimates calculating that up to 10.2 million of the uninsured within this population could qualify for coverage.

 

By their sheer numbers alone, the number of uninsured Hispanics presents a tremendous opportunity for insurers when the new health-insurance exchanges launch Oct. 1.  But signing up Hispanics and determining eligibility could be a little trickier though.  For one, many are still scratching their heads asking what exactly is health insurance and how it works.

“The success of the Affordable Care Act really hinges on the ability to reach the Latino community and get them enrolled,” said Jennifer Ngandu, from a Latino advocacy group.

Some of the challenges include language barriers, residency status and cost of insurance, even with government subsidies.  In 2011, the median household income for Hispanics was $39,000, much less than the national average which was $51,000.

Families with different immigration statuses under one roof, a common scenario, add to the complications. Illegal immigrants won’t qualify for any benefits. Legal immigrants are eligible to buy insurance on the exchanges, but they generally don’t qualify for Medicaid unless they have been in the country for five years. In those mixed-status families, there are fears about enrolling in coverage and exposing undocumented family members.

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