This past weekend, CuidadoDeSalud.gov, the Spanish-language version of Healthcare.gov was launched in an effort to bring full enrollment functionality to millions of uninsured Spanish speakers across the country.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has said that it will use feedback from Spanish-language organizations using the site during an initial soft-launch phase to make improvements before it is marketed widely to Spanish-language speakers.
As HHS develops its marketing and communications plans for the site, it would be wise to consider how the state-based exchanges are communicating to and enrolling Spanish speakers, and what it will mean for the success of ACA. Our initial research has shown online outreach in Spanish at the state level was virtually non-existent. Unfortunately, very little has changed in two months since the first report.
Here’s what we discovered about online enrollment outreach efforts to Spanish speakers across the country through our most recent research being completed on December 9th:
- 96 percent of all state-based health insurance exchanges do not have Spanish-language pages for Facebook or Twitter.
- California continues to be the only state-based exchange with dedicated Spanish-language social media channels.
- Nine of 17 (more than 50 percent) state-based health insurance exchanges do not have a Spanish-language website.
- Only 14 out of 120 (12 percent) government-funded navigator groups provide a Spanish-language website and none have a dedicated Spanish-language social media presence.
In public education campaigns, all channels of communication are important and online outreach through websites and social media should not be overlooked. 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.