Insurance marketplace navigation and access is another point of focus for our agency. While the number of uninsured Latinos has drastically decreased from 2010 to 2016, this number is still much higher than other racial and ethnic groups.1 According to the CDC National Center for Health Statistics, 19.6% of Hispanic/Latino individuals under 65 years old do not have health insurance coverage.2 More recently there has been an increase in the uninsured population. Between 2016 and 2017 the number of uninsured Americans rose by 3.2 million people, and over one in ten members of the population have no form of insurance.3 The greatest increase in the number of uninsured individuals occurred for young adults, blacks, Hispanics, and low-income Americans.
Since 2013, MHP Salud’s Community Health Workers have helped the families of the Rio Grande Valley navigate the insurance marketplace and prepare their insurance applications. Our Community Health Workers, also sometimes referred to as Insurance Navigators, are equipped with accurate knowledge about the ACA and trained specifically in how to appropriately help a community member prepare for filing their application. Our CHW Navigators have also successfully led outreach activities to promote open enrollment and the availability of Navigator assistance, given presentations throughout the community, and offered one-on-one interactions with consumers.
In 2019, MHP Salud Navigators provided assistance to hundreds of families in the Rio Grande Valley region of Southern Texas by providing information on Medicare, answering questions on billing, payment, and tax credits, and helping individuals locate providers. Over 1000 individuals were enrolled in a Qualified Health Plan during a session with an MHP Salud Navigator. Further, a majority of those who received services reported that they had learned something new or now had the confidence to make an appointment with a primary care provider. Although the health insurance marketplace is constantly going through changes, the services that Navigators provide will always be vital for vulnerable populations.