[lg policy] Study: Over 100, 000 Californians Likely to Miss Out on Health Care Due to Language Barriers

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at GMAIL.COM
Thu Mar 1 16:48:03 UTC 2012

Study: Over 100,000 Californians Likely to Miss Out on Health Care Due
to Language Barriers

OAKLAND, CA, Feb 29, 2012 (MARKETWIRE via COMTEX) -- Language barriers
could deter more than 100,000 Californians from enrolling in the
Health Benefit Exchange (Exchange), according to a study released
today by the California Pan-Ethnic Health Network (CPEHN), the UCLA
Center for Health Policy Research, and the UC Berkeley Center for
Labor Research and Education.

The study presents findings from a UC Berkeley-UCLA micro-simulation
study that estimates the likely enrollment in health care reform
programs in California. Specifically, the study projects that over 1
million limited-English proficient (LEP) adults will be eligible to
receive tax credits to purchase affordable coverage in the Health
Benefit Exchange, which expands access to affordable health coverage
in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA).

However, only 42 percent of eligible LEP adults are expected to enroll
in the program. "The evidence suggests that Californians who do not
speak English very well are at a disadvantage in terms of accessing
health care reform programs," said Daphna Gans, a research scientist
at the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research and the lead author of
the study.

The UC model shows that if language is not a barrier, participation by
LEP adults could increase to 53 percent, a difference of approximately
110,000 individuals.

"These are difficult times for California families and ensuring every
Californian has access to quality, affordable healthcare is vital for
our economic recovery," said Assembly Speaker John A. Perez, who
authored legislation (AB1602) in 2010 establishing the Exchange. "The
Health Benefit Exchange will help lower the cost of health insurance
for every Californian, but it's vital for every eligible Californian
to enroll to ensure we bring healthcare costs down as much as possible
for California's working families."

In California, more than 15 million residents speak a language other
than English at home and nearly half (7 million) of them have limited
proficiency in English. The study shows the importance of adopting a
diverse strategy for outreach and education.

"The Exchange is a key opportunity to make Californians healthier,"
said Ellen Wu, executive director of CPEHN. "We have to do this right.
Our success in implementing this new program will be measured not just
by the number of people enrolled, but by the state's ability to reach
those who are most often left behind. We have to target resources
through multicultural and multilingual outreach to ensure that
communities of color who are eligible, particularly people who speak
English less than very well, enroll in coverage."

The study was conducted based on analyses using the California
Simulation of Insurance Markets (CalSIM) model, a micro-simulation
developed by UCLA and UC Berkeley researchers, which uses a range of
official data sources (including the California Health Interview
Survey) to estimate the impact of various elements of the ACA on
employer decisions to offer insurance coverage and individual
decisions to obtain coverage in California.

The development of the model was supported through funding by The
California Endowment, the California Health Benefit Exchange and
CPEHN. Read the study, "Achieving Equity by Building a Bridge from
Eligible to Insured" at www.cpehn.org/pdfs/eligibleenrolledbrief.pdf

The California Pan-Ethnic Health Network (CPEHN), celebrating 20 years
as a champion for health equity, works to eliminate health disparities
by advocating for public policies and sufficient resources to address
the health needs of communities of color.

The UCLA Center for Health Policy Research is one of the nation's
leading health policy research centers and the premier source of
health policy information for California.

The UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education is a public
service and outreach program of the UC Berkeley Institute for Research
on Labor and Employment that conducts research and education on issues
related to labor and employment.


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