When compared to other racial demographics, Hispanics have a greater chance of not being insured despite the progress of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

According to the Commonwealth Fund, 88 percent of U.S. adults without health insurance are Hispanic. This also corresponds to adults who make less than $16,243 a year and are under 35 years old. The Commonwealth Fund claims that even when the number of uninsured individuals was reduced by 20 million since Obamacare was implemented, the percentage of Latinos that have not signed up for insurance increased from 29 to 40 percent between 2013 and 2016.

Image credit: National Hispanic Medical Association.
The sole objective of Obamacare, Affordable Care Act and Medicaid is to provide affordable health coverage for everyone who might need it. Image credit: National Hispanic Medical Association.

Affordable health insurance for Americans

26 million Americans have benefited from Medicaid and Obamacare, but there are still millions that are yet to receive either private or state-promoted health insurance.

The Commonwealth Fund suggested that the main reasons behind this findings are that Obamacare does not apply to undocumented immigrants and that there are densely-populated states, such as Florida and Texas, that are yet to expand their Medicaid programs.

Karen Ramirez-Contreras waits in an exam room at the Centro Sol clinic in Baltimore. Image credit: www.khn.org

At least one out of every three adults without insurance qualifies for Medicaid but lives in one of the states that have not developed a public health insurance system.

There are also indications that many people have not looked at Medicaid as a health insurance alternative due to elevated market prices. They believe that Medicaid will be just as expensive.

The Commonwealth Fund asserts that one major issue is the people’s lack of knowledge about their insurance options. 38 percent of the uninsured individuals had no idea about their possibilities of purchasing insurance in the marketplace.

The Commonwealth Fund suggests that states should develop their Medicaid programs and promote eligibility. Health insurance of any type is often of great benefit for medical institutions, attending practitioners, and patients, as it reduces costs and legal repercussions for patients who can’t afford to pay for medical treatment.

Study author Sara Collins, the Commonwealth Fund’s Vice President of Health Care Coverage and Access, suggested that the immigration reform would be of great benefit to further increase eligibility for undocumented immigrants.

Although there has been major progress in its implementation, there are still many loopholes that need to be addressed by the program to reach its full potential. The issue lies in immigration mostly, as the status of legal citizen is fundamental to qualify for Obamacare.

The immigration reform has many implications that act upon several nation-wide issues, not only insurance. For it to be a 100 percent efficient Affordable Care system, the U.S.’ immigration laws have to become more flexible.

Source: Commonwealth Fund