Report Finds Low-Income, Latino Idahoans Experience More Barriers In Healthcare Access

Apr 2, 2015

The ICAN report says barriers like a lack of internet access create barriers for Latino Idahoans who want to buy health insurance on the exchange.
Credit Breaking Barriers study / Idaho Community Action Network

Latinos in Idaho experience barriers that make the process of enrolling in healthcare through the state's  insurance exchange more challenging. That's according to a report released Thursday by a liberal advocacy group, the Idaho Community Action Network (ICAN).

ICAN's  survey looks at access to healthcare through a variety of parameters. According to the study -- called Breaking Barriers -- healthcare enrollment among Latino and African American communities was not as successful as among whites. Language barriers were an issue for Latino enrollees, as 70 percent of those surveyed did not know what medical services they were paying for on the exchange.

Many in the state's minority communities can't afford health insurance through the Affordable Care Act, but don't qualify for Medicaid.  Jill Reese is with the Alliance for a Just Society, the group that produced the report for ICAN. She says the state needs to change its policies.

"This is the third year that Idaho legislators and the governor have failed to act on the recommendations of the Idaho workgroup on Medicaid expansion, effectively turning their back on nearly 80,000 low-income workers in Idaho who fall into the Medicaid gap," Reese says. 

The group recommends expanding Medicaid to 78,000 low-income Idahoans, while increasing the role of healthcare navigators to help get low-income and minority people get enrolled.

The report pointed out some statistics they hope will move policy, including that the Gem State ranks at the bottom among states in primary care physicians per capita, and 46th in per capita income.

Find Frankie Barnhill on Twitter @FABarnhill

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