HHS, National Partners Combine to Boost Black American Enrollment at HealthCare.gov

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CMS is targeting specific populations more closely in order to reduce racial healthcare coverage inequality:

Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra announced commitments from national organizations to support Black American outreach and enrollment efforts during the Special Enrollment Period (SEP) made available on HealthCare.gov by President Biden due to the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency. Black Americans represent roughly 13% of the U.S. population but 16% of the uninsured.

As part of the Black American Week of Action, April 25 – May 1, HHS and its partnership organizations will combine social media efforts to inform Black American consumers and spur enrollment in affordable, quality health plans through HealthCare.gov. An estimated 66% of Black uninsured adults now may have access to a zero-premium plan and 76% may be able to find a low-premium plan as a result of expanded coverage.

“Black Americans are clearly taking advantage of the current Special Enrollment Period to access quality health care coverage,” said Secretary Becerra. “But, we still have a lot of work to do. We are building on this encouraging momentum and earnestly teaming with key national partners serving Black communities. We are leveraging their expertise and networks to promote enrollment in quality, affordable health insurance coverage during this SEP. Health care is more affordable now, and access easier than ever, for people in need of a health plan that best fits an individual’s or family’s health care needs.”

A recent report from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), which covers Marketplace plan selections from Feb. 15 to March 31, 2021, shows enrollment gains among historically uninsured communities – including Black consumers and Americans near the poverty level. Of applicants who identified a race, 17% identified as Black – compared to about 11% in both 2020 and 2019 during the same time period. Among consumers requesting financial assistance, 41% report being at or slightly above the federal poverty level, compared to 38% in 2020 and 33% in 2019.

HHS seeks to build on these historic gains by taking steps to provide Black Americans greater access to affordable, quality health care during the COVID-19 public health emergency and in years to come. HHS and the national organizations listed below will send targeted messages, participate in earned media opportunities, and amplify the SEP through social media channels to raise awareness about the coverage options available through HealthCare.gov for the Black community. CMS will also raise SEP awareness through an outreach and an educational campaign using broadcast digital advertising, email and text messages.

List of Organizations Sharing Enrollment Materials

  • 100 Black Men of America
  • AHIP
  • Alpha Kappa Alpha
  • American Hospital Association (AHA)
  • American Medical Association (AMA)
  • Association of Black Cardiologists
  • BlackDoctor.org
  • Black Women's Agenda
  • Black Women for Positive Change
  • Black Women's Health Imperative
  • Iota Phi Theta
  • Mom’s Rising
  • National Action Network
  • National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education
  • National Baptist Convention, USA
  • National Caucus and Center on Black Aging
  • National Coalition on Black Civic Participation
  • National Medical Association
  • National Urban League
  • Organization of Black Designers
  • Virginia Mae King Foundation
  • Young Invincibles

The American Rescue Plan increased tax credits available to millions of consumers, reducing premiums and giving consumers access to affordable, quality health care coverage. More than 985,000 uninsured Black adults may be eligible to access zero-dollar premium plans after advance payments of premium tax credits and more than 1.1 million uninsured Black adults may be eligible to access a low-premium plan for less than $50 per month after advance payments of premium tax credits. More than 500,000 Americans have already signed up for health coverage during the first six weeks of the SEP availability on HealthCare.gov.

Nearly 15 million Americans who currently lack health insurance and many current enrollees may be eligible to receive additional financial support in obtaining coverage through the Marketplace as part of the American Rescue Plan.

Consumers who want to enroll in coverage and see if they qualify for more affordable premiums can visit HealthCare.gov or CuidadoDeSalud.gov to view 2021 plans and prices and, if eligible, enroll in a plan that best meets their needs. Additionally, consumers can call the Marketplace Call Center at 1-800-318-2596, which provides assistance in over 150 languages. TTY users can call 1-855-889-4325. Consumers can also find a local assister or agent/broker in their area by visiting here. Eligible consumers can apply through HealthCare.gov through August 15, 2021, to gain access to the Special Enrollment Period to change or update their plan choices.