As the race to enroll the uninsured before March 31, 2014 heats up, most states and navigator groups are falling behind in providing online Spanish-language resources. Over 50 million Hispanics currently live in the United States, comprising 17 percent of the total U.S. population and account for nearly one-third of all uninsured. While the Federal Government has a Spanish-language informational website and is aiming to launch its Spanish-language enrollment website next week, online outreach in Spanish at the state level is virtually non-existent.
By not providing online information in Spanish about ACA, open enrollment and access to affordable health care, state exchanges and navigator groups may be missing a large portion of the uninsured. This is a potentially critical misstep given the rate at which Spanish speakers are connected online: thirty million of 47.8 million Hispanics living in the U.S. were online in 2010, 54 percent use Facebook regularly, and 59 percent have a smart phone.
Here’s what we discovered about online enrollment outreach efforts to Spanish speakers across the country:
- 96 percent of all state-based health insurance exchanges do not have Spanish-language pages for Facebook or Twitter.
- ONLY CALIFORNIA has dedicated Spanish-language social media channels.
- 60 percent of state-based health insurance exchanges do not have a Spanish-language website.
- Only 10 out of 120 government funded navigator groups provide a Spanish-language website and none have a dedicated Spanish-language social media presence.
Each week, the digital team at TogoRun conducts comprehensive research into what is happening around the country through online channels to get the word out about health care reform and the implementation of open enrollment. In the past two weeks we have monitored over 1.3 million conversations online and connected with state-based exchanges and 120 Navigator groups to track efforts to educate the public. Not only did we do an exhaustive online search, we called all 120 navigator groups and all state-based health insurance exchanges to confirm their online Spanish resources. The federal website, Cuidadodesalud.gov, is currently providing Spanish-language resources, but uninsured Spanish-speakers won’t be able to enroll in the new Health Insurance Exchanges, offering insurance options for a price, until the Spanish language enrollment functionality is live, tentatively scheduled for next week, the week of October 21.
Togo’s take-away: The communications landscape is dramatically different than it was even three ½ years ago when the Affordable Care Act was signed. To succeed in engaging the Spanish-speaking uninsured audience, state-based communications strategy must consist of social and digital Spanish-language channels.
For those interested in the complete findings please contact Victoria Karolenko.