Health insurance coverage levels rise in communities of color

Health insurance coverage - Rise in coverage

Department of Health and Human Services data recorded substantial improvements from 2020 to 2022.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently released a report in which its data showed that communities of color have recorded considerable improvements in health insurance coverage from 2020 to 2022.

The improvements are credited in part to increased outreach efforts for enrollment and enhanced affordability.

From 2020 to 2022, there was a 56 percent increase in health insurance coverage enrollment rates among Hispanic people through the Affordable Care Act marketplace. Among Black Americans, 49 percent more now have a plan, and among Native Americans, that figure is 32 percent.

Health insurance coverage - Family and piggy bank

The HHS report was produced by researchers from its Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation. It provided an analysis of trends in the Affordable Care Act’s marketplace enrollment, broken down by several factors including race and ethnicity, from the years 2015 through 2022.

What it revealed was that the number of people with plans improved across all Americans during the last couple of years. Increases in Hispanic and Black communities – where rates of uninsured people are historically particularly high – saw growth rates higher than other groups, rising by almost 40 percent for both groups between 2021 and 2022, according to the HHS figures.

There remain important gaps in people who have health insurance coverage and those who don’t.

Among Hispanic Americans under the age of 65 years, over a quarter – 25.7 percent – were still uninsured early this year. Comparatively, 14.5 percent of Black adults in that age group, and only 6.9 percent of white adults in that age group are uninsured, said the report.

“This underscores the importance of outreach and enrollment assistance,” explained Kaiser Family Foundation Vice President Cynthia Cox, who is also the director of the Affordable Care Act program. “We know that there were large numbers of people, particularly Hispanic people, who were eligible for free or reduced cost coverage but weren’t taking it up.”

According to Cox, a lack of health insurance coverage can involve barriers due to cost, but overall reasons reach beyond money. They include issues such as limited internet and computer access, immigration status, and word-of-mouth information that doesn’t necessarily apply to an individual’s own unique situation.

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