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Achieving Equity by Building a Bridge from Eligible to EnrolledOur latest report put numbers to what we already knew – communities of color have the most to gain from the successful implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Achieving Equity by Building a Bridge from Eligible to Enrolled, developed in partnership with UCLA Center for Health Policy Research and the UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education, highlights that of the 2.6 million Californians eligible for tax credits in California’s Health Benefit Exchange (Exchange), 67% (approximately 1.73 million) will be people of color and 40% (about 1.06 million) will speak English less than very well.

In addition, the study projects that of the over 1 million nonelderly adults who speak English less than very well and are eligible for the Exchange, about 53 percent are expected to enroll if they do not experience any language barriers. However, anticipated enrollment could decrease to 42 percent – a difference of about 110,000 Californians – if those eligible do not receive information in a language they understand.

Achieving Equity by Building a Bridge from Eligible to Enrolled also offers policy recommendations, including the importance of implementing an outreach and enrollment plan that speaks to and engages all of California’s diverse communities. We have a tremendous opportunity to improve the health of millions of its residents through the Exchange, but in order for health reform to achieve this potential, we must make sure that everyone knows what benefits are available and how to enroll.

Ellen Wu is Executive Director of the California Pan-Ethnic Health Network. In 2012, CPEHN is celebrating 20 years as a champion for health equity.

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