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HealthCare.gov Ties Marketing Push to Black American Week of Action

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What You Need to Know

  • About 16% of uninsured U.S. residents are Black Americans.
  • The percentage of HealthCare.gov applicants who are Black seems to be increasing.
  • Officials say their outreach campaign includes broadcast ads, digital ads, an email campaign and text messaging.

Managers of HealthCare.gov are basing a new outreach campaign on the Black American Week of Action, which started Sunday.

Officials at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), said Monday that they are working with Black American groups and other groups to encourage uninsured Black Americans to shop for coverage through HealthCare.gov.

About 16% of uninsured U.S. residents are Black Americans, but, in the past, only about 12% of the exchange plan users who disclosed their race were Black.

Thanks to new American Rescue Plan Act subsidies and existing subsidies, about 66% of uninsured Black adults, or 985,000 people, should be able to get exchange plan coverage with no out-of-pocket premium costs, HHS officials said.

HHS is implementing the Black American Week of Action Campaign by working with many groups, including 100 Black Men of America, the Association of Black Cardiologists, the Black Women’s Health Imperative and the NAACP, to spread information about HealthCare.gov through social media channels.

HHS already is working with those groups, and more, on general outreach efforts. It also has been promoting the current broad special enrollment period using broadcast ads, digital ads, an email campaign and text messaging, along with social media efforts.

About 17% of the people who applied for coverage through Health Care.gov from Feb. 15 through March 31 and listed their race said they were Black, according to HHS.

During the comparable periods in 2019 and 2020, only about 11% who identified their race said they were Black, officials said.

HHS set up HealthCare.gov to provide Affordable Care Act health insurance exchange services in states that are unwilling or unable to set up locally run exchange programs. The exchange programs are supposed to be web-based supermarkets for health insurance.

HealthCare.gov provides exchange services in 36 states. It ended March with a total of about 8.8 million users.

In recent years, the typical open enrollment period, or time when people can buy coverage without showing they have a special reason to be shopping for coverage, has run from Nov. 1 through Dec. 15. The Biden administration extended the open enrollment period into January, then started a new special enrollment period for all through will last until August.

Xavier Becerra (Photo: California Attorney General’s Office)