Many Spanish speakers miss first enrollment deadline

Many people who primarily speak Spanish missed the deadline to enroll in healthcare reform plans that began Jan. 1, Kaiser Health News reported

For example, less than 5 percent of California's roughly 110,000 signups in October and November were completed in Spanish.

The Latino population is one of the youngest and fastest-growing populations in the United States--and, as such, they're crucial to healthcare reform's success. But Hispanic support for reform is dwindling, thanks in part to the unfinished Spanish language insurance exchange website and confusion over the reform law and how to sign up for coverage, FierceHealthPayer previously reported.

Another problem is that some Hispanics lack money and resources, such as access to technology, that would ease enrollment, KHN noted. And Spanish speakers' concerns about giving up personal information over the Internet may have slowed down their enrollment, according to the article.

"The majority of people coming in are people who we have to help 100 percent. We're both translating and explaining everything, even when they do speak English," Luisa Buada, CEO of Ravenswood Family Health Center, a community clinic in East Palo, Calif., with eight certified enrollment counselors, told KHN. In general, consumers want someone to hold their hand through the whole process, she said.

Now that the deadline for Jan. 1 coverage has slipped, community-based organizations are focusing their education and outreach efforts on the March 31 end to 2104 open enrollment.

To learn more:
- here's the KHN article