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Covered California and Limited English Speakers

Covered California and Limited English Speakers

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Limited English speakers make up a larger percentage of those eligible for subsidized health care through Covered California. Photo by Walt Stoneburner.

The fellowship project is looking at outreach to, and enrollment of, limited English speakers in Covered California, our state's version of the Affordable Care Act.

Read about the projects of other 2014 California Health Journalism Fellows.

About $40 million in grant money has been given to California organizations to do outreach, with a large focus on reaching immigrant populations.

Of Californians who are eligible for subsidized insurance under the Affordable Care Act, about 40 percent speak English less than well. California is at the forefront of pushing for the Affordable Care Act and targeting populations in a variety of languages.

There has already been a lot of outreach work done—will enrollment numbers reflect those efforts? What are the barriers to enrollment for limited English speakers? A 2012 simulation from UC Berkeley and UCLA Labor Centers estimates that 110,000 Californians will not enroll due to language barriers, if there were no targeted outreach.

The state collects information on language, race and ethnicity through Covered California applications and through their call centers. I plan to look at data during the first year of open enrollment in Covered California, as well as speak to individuals and organizations about their experiences.

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Our focus group is adults with limited ability to speak or read the English language.

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