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Most Uninsured Latinos Qualify for Health Coverage or Discount

A majority of Hispanics - 80 percent - who currently do not have health insurance are in fact eligible for Medicaid, the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) or qualify for monthly lower premiums on Health Insurance Marketplaces, according to a report released Tuesday by Health and Human Services.

Cecilia Muñoz, Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, said in an on-the-record conference call with reporters that the Administration is engaged in "robust" outreach efforts to reach U.S. Hispanics, including an 800 number staffed 24 hours a day and a Spanish-language website, CuidadoDeSalud.gov, though 63 percent of uninsured Latinos who are eligible for coverage in the marketplace either speak English as a first language speak it well as a second language.

An outstanding issue limiting more coverage of Latinos is that two out of the three states with the most Hispanics - Texas and Florida - have not expanded Medicaid, though the federal government picks up 100 percent of the costs for the first 3 years and 90 percent after that.

If Medicaid were expanded in Texas and Florida, said Muñoz, 95 percent of uninsured Hispanics would be eligible for coverage. Texas Democratic congressman Joaquin Castro said there were "strong voices from the left and right" advocating for expansion.

In the meantime, on-site navigators and in-person assistance has proven to be one of the more effective ways of securing Latino enrollment, according to Mayra Alvarez, Associate Director of the Office of Minority Health.