How to motivate Hispanics to enroll

The success of insurers, health insurance exchanges and Medicaid expansion largely depends on Hispanic consumers, but few have signed up for new coverage.

Almost 40 percent of Hispanic adults were uninsured last year, and 55 percent of the Hispanic population said they expected to remain uninsured in 2014, reported Health Affairs.

This high uninsured rate could relate to a low level of health insurance literacy among Hispanics. Only 23 percent of Hispanic adults were somewhat or very confident in their understanding of insurance terms like premium, deductible and copayment; only 30 percent were somewhat or very confident in understanding terms like provider network and covered services.

Insurers will find it challenging to motivate Hispanic consumers to enroll in exchanges because although one in four subsidy-eligible individuals are Latino, most assume they don't qualify for or don't know subsidies exist, FierceHealthPayer previously reported.

So what steps can insurers take to effectively reach out and encourage them to sign up for plans? First, it's important to know Hispanic consumers don't typically use a website to look for information, choosing instead to use call centers, navigators or other sources, such as family and friends.

That means insurers should combine online-focused outreach campaigns with bilingual call centers and in-person assistance, and address population- and locality-specific barriers to health plan enrollment, Health Affairs noted.

What's more, many Hispanic consumers live with family members who are illegal citizens, which could discourage the legal consumers from signing up for an exchange or Medicaid coverage for fear that their family members could get deported. That's why President Barack Obama told Univision Deportes, a Spanish-language sports radio show, immigration officials won't access personal information needed to enroll on the exchanges, reported The Hill's Healthwatch.

If insurers highlight that fact in their outreach and enrollment efforts for Hispanic consumers, they could have a better chance of compelling this key group to obtain health coverage.

To learn more:
- read the Health Affairs blog post
- see The Hill's Healthwatch article