NEWS RELEASE

NCLR Urges Latinos to Sign Up for Health Coverage in 2017 During Affordable Care Act Open Enrollment

Health insurance marketplace open enrollment runs November 1, 2016–January 31, 2017

November 1, 2017

CONTACT:
Kathy Mimberg
kmimberg@nclr.org
(202) 776-1714

WASHINGTON, D.C.—As the fourth open enrollment period under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) begins today, NCLR (National Council of La Raza) is encouraging eligible Latinos to sign up for health coverage by January 31, 2017. Individuals can sign up for coverage via (800) 318-2596 or HealthCare.gov and CuidadoDeSalud.gov.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 85 percent of consumers eligible for the ACA marketplace in 2016 qualified for financial assistance through tax credits. With the help of these tax credits, more than 70 percent of marketplace consumers this year can buy a plan for less than $75 per month.

Since the ACA was implemented, the overall uninsured rate for Latinos has declined the most of any racial or ethnic group, dropping from 24.3 percent in 2013 to 16.2 percent today. However, the rate of uninsured Hispanics in the United States remains the highest of any group. Approximately 2.6 million adults have been denied health coverage because of the refusal of some states—including Florida and Texas, which have large uninsured Latino populations—to expand Medicaid eligibility.

These individuals fall into what is known as the Medicaid coverage gap, where they earn too much to qualify for Medicaid (just over $8,840 annually), yet do not earn enough to qualify for financial assistance through the health insurance marketplace. Those in the coverage gap essentially have no means of accessing health coverage because of their state’s refusal to expand their Medicaid programs.

“It is so important that while we encourage all who are eligible to enroll, we continue working to increase access to the remaining uninsured, including those who fall into the Medicaid coverage gap,” said Murguía. “We have called on Florida Governor Rick Scott and Texas Governor Greg Abbott to act in the best interests of their constituents by expanding Medicaid. That would make a big difference in providing access to coverage since 80 percent of Latinos in the gap live in those states. Access to quality affordable health insurance not only improves people’s lives, it bolsters our nation’s economic and social well-being.”

Throughout this open enrollment period, community organizations that belong to the NCLR Affiliate Network are providing Latinos with local in-person assistance, as well as information about financial help and eligibility—particularly for families of mixed immigration status—and more.

NCLR—the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States—works to improve opportunities for Hispanic Americans. For more information on NCLR, please visit www.nclr.org or follow along on Facebook and Twitter.