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Obamacare Launch Clock is Ticking

CHICAGO (May 15, 2014)–With mandatory healthcare coverage looming over the state’s head, the uninsured multicultural markets will become lucrative for those insurance companies who effectively target the consumer group.

The deadline for the Affordable Healthcare Act (ACA also known as “Obama Care”) steadily approaches causing the Illinois government along with insurance companies and cooperatives to scramble to insure the state’s uninsured by Jan. 1, 2014. The government already approved 24 new insurance cooperatives in Illinois to speedily, effectively and efficiently insure over one million residents. In order for the state and its insurers to meet the deadline, companies must overcome various cultural nuances to reach the state’s 800,000 plus multicultural population.

Currently, over 13% (1,647,527) of Illinois residents are uninsured–533,702 residing in Chicago. Minorities are the most likely to be uninsured (28% of Hispanics, 23% of African Americans). Hispanics have the highest uninsured rate among racial/ethnic groups in the country. Even more appealing to healthcare companies, Hispanics under age 26 make up 47% of the population, and only 6% are over 65.

“The math here is pretty easy. Insurance companies are trying to sign the uninsured,” said George. L San Jose, president and chief creative officer at The San Jose Group. “The ones who truly educate the Hispanic consumers have the opportunity to get the biggest piece of the uninsured pie.”

And no matter how you cut that pie, insuring Americans–all Americans–is an impending reality. Insurance companies targeting Hispanics must be mindful of the enrollment confusion standing as a barrier between most uninsured Hispanics and healthcare. Through targeted (and in some cases in-language) outreach used to address healthcare fears and educating the market on the long term benefits of coverage, insurers can gain the trust and business of this large population. According to the Kaiser Commission,”community-based safety-net providers are often viewed as a trusted source” for Hispanics.

Additional considerations for earning this market are fluctuating literacy levels as well as offering language services and one-on-one application assistance. Almost half (41%) of Hispanics adults (19-64) are uninsured (compared to 15% of Non-Hispanic Whites). With six months left in 2013, it’s time for insurance companies to get to work on this market–or everyone will pay the price for it later.