The Supreme Court and John Boehner not withstanding, open enrollment for the Affordable Care Act’s insurance exchange resumes this weekend. And if outreach workers around the country recreate last year’s enrollment success, the rates of uinsured among blacks and Latinos in particular will have been dramatically reduced.
More than a fifth of African Americans and nearly 42 percent of Latinos lacked coverage in 2013, according to one survey the federal government cited in a recent progress report on the Affordable Care Act. The two communities account for nearly half of the nation’s uninsured.
African Americans have seen the most dramatic change since the health law launched. As of June 2014, the uninsured rate among African Americans had dropped by nearly a third. More than 1.7 million people got covered, either through Medicaid or through the exchange.
Progress among Latinos is also impressive, if a bit more complicated. More than 2.6 million Latinos gained coverage, which cut the community’s uninsured rate by 18 percent. Latinos, however, continue to represent a far disproportionate share of the uinsured. The health law bars undocumented immigrants from participating in the exchange, but the real challenge has been for mixed-status families. People who qualify for coverage but have undocumented workers in their families have both been confused about eligibility and, frankly, terrified of engaging a government that has deported more than 2 million people under President Obama’s watch.
The survey did not break out data for other non-white communities due to the small sample size.
Open enrollment begins on Nov. 15 and continues until Feb. 15. For more information on buying new coverage or renewing existing coverage for 2015, check out HealthCare.gov or your state’s own insurance portal.