More Latinos are Now Insured, Giving Healthcare Organizations Enormous Opportunities

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  • August 16, 2017

According to the Affordable Care Act tracking survey, the uninsured rates for Latinos dropped from a high of 36 percent pre-ACA to a low of 29 percent in the first quarter of 2016.  But in comparison, non-Hispanics have fallen from half of the uninsured in 2013 to 41 percent in 2016. So, what’s keeping some Latinos from reaping the rewards of being insured and how can healthcare organizations get more Latinos in to see their doctors in order to get them the care they need? According to the Commonwealth Fund, one solution is increasing awareness about health insurance options and benefits.  One way some Healthcare organizations are getting Latinos into the doc’s office is by hiring “promotores de salud” to close the culture gap many Hispanics feel when visiting the doctor’s office. We looked closer at these two strategies to see how Healthcare organizations can engage more Hispanics within healthcare.

Awareness is the key to get more Latinos insured and in the game

The Affordable Care Act has given more people the opportunity to obtain health insurance and it has given many Latinos, including those with low income, a chance to get covered as well. Still, there is an awareness gap among Hispanics when it comes to all the options about health insurance, benefits, services, plans, and overall programs, which may lead them to think they can’t afford health insurance. The survey data doesn’t say what percentage of uninsured Latinos are undocumented. But, immigration status does not fully justify uninsured rates among Latinos because more than half of them were citizens in 2014. When honing in on the Latinos that are residents or U.S. citizens, how can health organizations close that awareness gap and reap the rewards?

Hispanics respond to a company/brand that touches on their culture

Focusing on culture is the most effective way that your health organization will be heard and demonstrate support and knowledge of the Hispanic community. Promoting your organization’s abilities and demonstrating cultural knowledge through a bilingual website and a Spanish voice on Facebook, Instagram and other social media platforms is a way of reaching out to a community that is often untapped. For example, having a community manager that can quickly respond to questions in Facebook and Instagram in their language, is a great way to initiate a relationship and help close the gap of awareness in your organization.

Investing in Hispanic Content Marketing is attention grabbing

In the U.S., Hispanics over index on mobile, which is one of the big reasons for healthcare organizations to target Hispanics in campaigns, on websites, and social media outlets. Here’s where investing in Hispanic Content Marketing can get their attention! Google says that when a campaign includes aspects of Hispanic culture, regardless of language, 88% pay attention, and 41% feel more favorable about a company or a brand that tries to reach them. Focusing on cultural insights, like McDonald’s did in this bilingual ad touching on Latino teenagers and their families, helps the viewer relate to what they’re seeing. Nielsen adds that targeting an ad or a brand in Spanish originally and not as a translation yields ROI up to four times higher than General Market ads.

Hispanics appreciate a more personable approach

Some healthcare organizations have hired “promotores de salud,” or “community health workers” who are Hispanic and have received specialized training to provide basic health education.Since there is a constant shortage of Spanish-speaking doctors in the U.S. (in 2010 there were 105 Latino doctors for every 100,000 Latinos), the likelihood of getting someone to take more time with a patient and be able to speak in Spanish is slim to none. In addition, Latinos have preconceived expectations for doctor/patient interaction and often need more time with their doctors apart from being able to understand their prognoses.  A study from the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid tracked the effectiveness of the promotores de salud in central California and found that they improved the behaviors and attitudes of low-income Latinos with respect to health insurance, healthcare access, and preventive service use.

The stats are clear and so are the expectations of Latinos. In order to close the gap of awareness and get more Latinos insured and in the doc’s office, healthcare organizations need to focus on marketing in Spanish and reach this demographic, by leveraging language and culture. 

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