More than 16 percent of people who enrolled in Obamacare and stated their race in their application were African-American, according to preliminary data released by the Obama administration.
In a comprehensive report on enrollment through the Affordable Care Act from October to April, the Department of Health and Human Services, for the first time, offered insights on the racial demographics of people who enrolled. This data is incomplete, though. It only includes people who live in one of the 36 states where the federal government operated the health insurance exchange, so it excludes states like New York and California, both of which have high minority populations. And even in those 36 states, 31 percent of people opted either not to report their race or checked “unknown” or “other.” And people who qualified for Medicaid, a group that is also likely to be disproportionately minority, were not broken down by race either.
In the sample of 3.8 million people in 36 states who bought private insurance, 16.7 percent were black, 10.7 percent Latino, 7.9 percent Asian, 62.9 percent white.
These early estimates suggest the administration is succeeding in enrolling blacks and other groups in the health insurance, but lagged behind with Latinos. About 15 percent of the people who could have enrolled in ACA plans are Latino. Black enrollment actually outpaced expectations, as about 13 percent of potential enrollees were black but nearly 17 percent selected an insurance plan.
Administration officials acknowledge challenges in enrolling Latinos, specifically noting the fear some have of that providing personal information during the enrollment process will ready to deportation for either them or their relatives.