Hispanics Enroll Under The Affordable Care Act Despite Lingering Questions

According to Obamacare Facts, up to 47 million Americans were uninsured before the Affordable Care Act (ACA). That changed during the 2014 open enrollment period when 8 million Americans enrolled in marketplace plans. And with a more stable website and additional resources on the street, it is estimated that 11.7 million enrolled during the 2015 window, including 4.5 million who re-enrolled from 2014.

Within those numbers are Hispanics, a major factor in determining the success of the ACA. While it’s widely known that Hispanics make up about 18% of the U.S. population, you may not be aware that Hispanics accounted for more than 30% of the uninsured in the U.S. before the ACA. 

But now, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the ACA is benefiting Hispanic families in terms of affordability, accessibility, and quality of healthcare. 



However, a recent study tracking Hispanic consumers’ opinion and acceptance related to health insurance and measuring it against other ethnicities (White, African-American, and Asian) presented some interesting findings, of which the most prevalent was that questions and concerns about the ACA still remain.

Source of Insurance

When Hispanics were asked if they currently had health insurance, 77% said yes in November 2013. That number rose to 83% last month, lowering the number of uninsured Hispanics from 20% to 16%. 

At the same time, the source of that insurance has changed considerably with findings showing that respondents who got their insurance from their employer in November 2013 declined last month, from 42% to 36%.

More than any other ethnic group, 11% of Hispanics stated that they got their insurance through either the federal or a state ACA exchange this year.

Interestingly, while the trend has been moving away from their employer as a source of insurance and toward the ACA, Hispanics’ overall satisfaction with their health insurance has also shifted. 

When asked, “How satisfied are you with the health insurance you currently have?”

  • In November 2013, 89% said “very satisfied” or “somewhat satisfied.”
  • In May 2014, that dropped to 84%
  • And last month, it fell to 81%

Bottom line: More Hispanics now have health insurance, but, according to the study, their experience with it, thus far, has been less than ideal.

Consumer Sentiment

When comparing consumer sentiment toward the ACA across ethnicities, the results varied greatly:

Lingering Questions

While acceptance and enrollment in the ACA continues to grow, there are still questions surrounding it in the Hispanic community. Such as:

  • How to sign up for Marketplace plans, through the federal website or a state-sponsored site?
    • 33% of Hispanics are unsure, compared to 45% for Whites, 40% for African-Americans, and 30% for Asians
  • What are the fines and penalties associated with not being insured?
  • 40% of Hispanics don’t understand, compared to 47% for Whites, 50% for African-Americans, and 43% for Asians

The Final Count

With nearly 12 million subscribers on the books, perhaps the worst is behind us and the ACA will continue to be a source of affordable insurance for the millions of Americans still left uninsured. 

But for those who have enrolled through the marketplaces, the findings from the study suggest that there needs to be an increased focus on the “consumer experience.” Having millions of “dissatisfied insureds” works against widespread adoption of the ACA just as much as a website that continues to crash.

And if the mandate is that every American have health insurance or incur penalties, then every effort must be made to educate consumers and employers on what the expectations are, how to meet requirements, and what triggers the penalties. As the program evolves and changes are made, everyone should be updated in a timely manner to help improve compliance.

Because making sure everyone has some level of health insurance is generally considered a good strategy. However, how the strategy is executed is what earns you a pass or fail.

1 comment about "Hispanics Enroll Under The Affordable Care Act Despite Lingering Questions".
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  1. cara marcano from reporte hispano, April 23, 2015 at 12:42 p.m.

    One of the reasons so many Hispanics enrolled and that this campaign has been so successful at increasing the number of Hispanics with insurance in the US is that the media on this campaign included Hispanic newspapers. The local print newspaper advertising, supported by trusted Hispanic-newspaper- branded social and PR and advertorial support by the newspapers.

     If ever one needed a case study to prove the value of Hispanic newspapers this is it. When the client got serious about including Hispanic newspapers on their media plans they got the results they needed. Double the number of predicted folks enrolled in many markets only after the campaign included Hispanic newspapers. The number of enrolled has far, far exceeded guidance by the client -- and these results were only seen after Hispanic newspapers were added to the campaign.
    Hispanic newspapers can be scaled and honed to certain target markets -- as in the case of this campaign-- to specific markets where more enrollment was needed and then also scaled up to national or regional messaging. For engagement and results and education there is no other medium at this time that is serving the US Hispanic for clients as well as the Hispanic newspapers. In a current environment so focused on technology as innovation, technology as the only synonym for innovation and results,  it is easy to understand how this point could be missed. It should not be missed for clients and agencies who are committed to driving results in the Hispanic space in the US at this time and into the future. Trust and engagement and curated content of Hispanic newspapers drives the results we want to see for our clients, locally, regionally and nationally.  National media that does not include local media is not good national media.
    As with any good marketing effort those new Hispanic customers will have to be served and kept satisfied etc.  Corporate America could learn a lot though from the success the Hispanic newspapers have had with this work.  For more info or case studies about this email me: 
    Cara Marcano
    CEO, Reporte Hispano
    Director, Board of Directors, National Association of Hispanic Publications

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