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Insurers think outside the box to boost Hispanic enrollment

Payers go to community events, supermarkets to target the uninsured

Insurers now take atypical approaches to sell policies in an effort to boost enrollment among the nation's Hispanic population, the Associated Press reported.

For example, Blue Cross plans in Texas and North Carolina send recreational vehicles to try to attract Hispanics at community events, the AP noted. Insurers, government agencies and community groups also use Spanish-language billboards, radio and television spots, Google Hangouts and even information tables at Hispanic supermarkets.

This outreach effort mirrors one of the broader challenges that insurers face in the second year of open enrollment under the Affordable Care Act (ACA): Reaching those who have been uninsured for years or who have never had insurance at all.

In many states, the percentage of Hispanic residents who have health insurance is smaller than their share of the overall population. This is true despite the fact that most uninsured Hispanics are eligible for subsidized health insurance under the ACA or now qualify for Medicaid.

In some cases, a lack of trust explains the lack of coverage. Undocumented immigrants are hesitant to enroll their children, fearing that the application process could tip off federal authorities, who may then deport a family member. Though President Barack Obama's executive order stopped short of offering insurance to illegal immigrants in the United States, it did limit the deportation risk for about 4 million immigrants.

Sharing this information with the Hispanic population takes a grassroots approach, a representative of Blue Cross in North Carolina told the AP. Effectively explaining the complexities of the health insurance market and answering questions about costs and privacy means building a personal relationship with would-be customers.

For more:
- read the AP article

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