California Hispanics Lagging in Sign-Ups for Health Insurance

Sandhya Somashekhar, Washington Post, December 16, 2013

California has surged ahead in implementing the federal health care law, but it is lagging in one way that could have major implications for the program’s success: Latinos appear to make up only a small fraction of those who have signed up.

The numbers have prompted concern, because so many of the state’s uninsured are Hispanic, and it could be a sign that enrollment efforts targeted toward Latinos are behind nationwide as well.

Hispanics are a linchpin of the health care law because they comprise more than a third of the estimated 29 million people who are eligible to buy coverage on the online insurance exchanges. The population skews young, making Latinos an important demographic for the Obama administration, which is seeking to keep premiums low by coaxing healthy people to join the insurance pools.


Less than 5 percent of the 109,296 people who enrolled in health insurance in California in October and November identified themselves as Spanish speakers, according to data released by the state on Thursday–a strikingly low number considering that more than a quarter of the state’s population primarily speaks Spanish, and Latinos comprise nearly half the number of uninsured who are eligible to buy coverage on the state exchange.

Although the figure does not reflect the number of Latinos who probably registered in English, the 4,498 sign-ups among Spanish speakers were significantly less than the 6,453 enrollments among speakers of Asian and Pacific Islander languages–a group that makes up about 10 percent of the state population, according to census data.

The state has had an aggressive $86 million promotional push devoted to boosting enrollment among Californians of all stripes, including Latinos.


A big promotional push by the White House aimed at Latinos won’t start until January. Numbers specifying how many Hispanics have enrolled have not been released.

“Our expectation was always that the number of enrollees, including Latino consumers, would be low in the first months, but we expect enrollment to increase over time,” Katherine Vargas, a White House spokeswoman, said in a statement.

But the technical problems that beset the federal marketplace,, was a major setback. The administration was forced to cancel a “Hispanic Week of Action” that was planned for late October. The Spanish-language version of,, became active only last weekend even though it was scheduled to launch with the English site Oct. 1.

One problem identified by workers helping Hispanics sign up for coverage around the country is the confusing process for submitting applications from people whose families include U.S. citizens as well as legal and illegal immigrants.


Topics: , , ,

Share This

We welcome comments that add information or perspective, and we encourage polite debate. If you log in with a social media account, your comment should appear immediately. If you prefer to remain anonymous, you may comment as a guest, using a name and an e-mail address of convenience. Your comment will be moderated.
  • newscomments70

    Why pay for something that they can get for free? Since Obamacare, my costs have increased 10 fold. If they are already receiving free healthcare, paid for by taxpayers, why in God’s name would they pay what I pay? They even go to my upscale doctors, not a welfare hospital.

    • So CAL Snowman

      Latinos are already covered in CA by freaking Medi-Cal so they really have no incentive to sign up. That and they are too lazy and dumb to figure out how to navigate the process.

      • Strike_Team

        Absolutely correct. These people are covered within days of crossing the border and their gangbanger in training children are much better taken care of in terms of medical care than the way the media reports things.

    • Hunter Morrow

      I guess the plan has to be sold as “blacks and hispanics will pay into the system and won’t just hand the White man another trillion dollar bill.”

      Good luck with that. Good luck getting one peso out of Jose. It will not happen.
      California has 1/8th the U.S. population and is 35 percent of all federal welfare bums.

      All the muds heard Obamacare and thought “Obama gonna buy my doctor.” Yeah, he’s gonna buy it. With White money. Same as it always is with giant governments. Giant governments are anathema to the White race. They need us, we don’t need them.

  • Here’s the problem with that:

    If the Latinos sign up, it’ll be under Medicaid.

    The whole point of ObamaDontCare is to get younger healthier people with incomes above the Medicaid qualification threshold to pay more to subsidize the new Medicaid clients, the people that can get insurance in spite of pre-existing conditions, the 26-year old louts in their parents’ basements and those whose lifetime insurance payouts are no longer capped.

    Otherwise, death spiral.

    • Pro_Whitey

      You have hit the nail right on the head. Signing up more hispanics means increased Medicaid liabilities. In other words, #ObamacareFAIL, or whatever they do on that Twitter thing.

  • Hunter Morrow

    Yeah, right. They got to the emergency room, get the “bill,” use it as a skin to
    roll up a joint and have a big laugh at the dumb gringos.

    The whole point of the bill is to take money from Whites and give it to non-Whites.
    Pardon me, “subsidize health insurance for the poorest and neediest amongst us.”

  • puffdaddy

    So it’s to confusing for them, and they are expected to pay for it too? No way will they sign up until someone takes them by the hand and walks them through the process and makes sure they are subsidized too, which sort of cancels out the point of getting young hispanics to sign up – they won’t be able to prop up the system financially. It’s just another group of people the rest of us have to pay for.

  • Low income Latinos have no need of Obamacare, or any contact with governments for that matter. Walk into any hospital emergency room and you will find the waiting area filled with Latinos waiting for anonymous medical care at no cost to them.

  • Alexandra1973

    My village’s local paper had this little article with people from this area (97% white) saying how they’re being screwed over big-time thanks to Obamacare.

    My guess is that costs went up to cover costs for the bottom-feeders. Doesn’t surprise me one bit. I don’t think we even have a middle class anymore, it’s truly going to be the haves and the have-nots.

  • Greg Thomas

    Hispanics already have health coverage….the emergency room. Why would you expect them to pay for it when they get everything else for free.

    • Alexandra1973

      If they want a free trip back to Mexico, I’m okay with that. One-way, of course.

  • Spartacus

    “The state has had an aggressive $86 million promotional push devoted to
    boosting enrollment among Californians of all stripes, including


    So this is why you’re not gonna go to the moon again .

    • I wanted a US manned mission to Mars. Adjusting to reality, I have set my sights lower: my family and I are making a manned mission to Boulder for Christmas.

  • Kit Ingoldby

    They actually expect millions of latino’s to voluntarily sign up to pay INTO a government programme rather than just getting free payouts?



  • newscomments70

    My co-pay used to be $20. That’s all I had to pay for most services. Now I must pay $210 for each visit, even for someting simple. That is a 10 fold increase. i wish i could scan the bill for you. It’s no exaggeration.