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Latinos Are Growing Share of Uninsured: Health Coverage Report

While 20 million more Americans now have health insurance through the Affordable Care Act, Latinos are a growing share of the uninsured.
Image: Esther Guzman, Janelle Hartley
Esther Guzman, left, gets health insurance enrollment information from Janelle Hartley, right, Thursday March 13, 2014, during a Covered California rally in Los Angeles. Nick Ut / AP
A man is silhouetted behind a sign at an Affordable Care Act outreach event for the Latino community in Los Angeles, California September 28, 2013.JONATHAN ALCORN / Reuters

Latinos have become a significantly growing share of adult Americans with no health insurance despite gains in coverage after passage of the Affordable Care Act.

Though the number of Americans without health insurance has gone down by 20 million since 2010, the share of U.S. Hispanics without coverage has grown from 29 percent in 2013 to 40 percent in 2016.By contrast, the share of Whites without coverage has declined from 50 percent in 2013 to 41 percent in 2016.

The findings are part of a new report released Thursday by the Commonwealth Fund, which supports healthcare reform.

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The study noted several reasons why there are still 24 million Americans who are uninsured, including a growing share of Hispanics.

Among them:

  • The ACA also does not extend to undocumented immigrants, which Latinos make up about 28 percent, according to Pew Hispanic.
  • Many of the uninsured are poor, making 138 percent lower than the poverty line — $16,243 for an individual or $33,465 for a family of four. Of this group, almost half, 47 percent, are Latino.
  • Texas and Florida, two of the 19 states that decided not to expand Medicaid once the Affordable Care Act was passed, have large Latino populations which contributes to the disproportionate rates of insured versus uninsured. Just over half (51 percent) of uninsured Americans live in one of the states that did not expand Medicaid.
  • The study also found a majority of uninsured Americans thought they could not cannot afford coverage even if they do qualify for subsidies or Medicaid.

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The report studied which Americans remain uninsured after the passage of the healthcare law. It found that almost nine-in-ten (88 percent) of those without coverage are Latino, poor (adults making under $16 thousand a year), under 35 or owners of small businesses.

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“About 26 million Americans have gained coverage through the Affordable Care Act’s marketplaces and Medicaid expansion,” said Sara Collins, Vice President for Health Care Coverage and Access at The Commonwealth Fund and one of the report's lead authors. “However, millions of people still don’t have health insurance. That means they are likely to go without the health care they need and are at risk of medical debt or bankruptcy if they get sick.”

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