African Americans are not signing up for insurance under Covered California at anywhere near their percentage of the population. With this year’s enrollment deadline just around the corner, time to fix the problem is short.
African Americans make up about 7 percent of California’s population but just 3 percent of Covered CA enrollees. But the situation is actually worse than that because African Americans make up 17 percent of the state’s uninsured population, the very people Obamacare was supposed to attract.
Covered CA has previously been criticized for low enrollment among Latinos. The Latino population makes up about 46 percent of the subsidy-eligible uninsured but as of January they made up only about 20 percent of enrollees. Enrollment among Latinos has picked up somewhat since then.
Carla Singleton, who is working on outreach in LA, tells the LA Times “From Covered California all the way down, there just hasn’t been a lot of outreach.” She suggests that, perhaps, the state’s focus on closing the gap with Latinos may have left other minority groups to fall through the cracks.
California is following the federal government’s lead and has announced that anyone who starts an application for insurance before the official deadline next Monday will have until April 15th to complete it. In effect, a two week extension to apply.