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Health law helps thousands of area Latinos, feds say

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Approximately 95,000 uninsured Latinos in Missouri and Kansas combined are eligible for health coverage through the marketplaces established by the federal health reform law, according to a new report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The department broke out state-specific numbers in the report, which concluded that approximately 8 in 10 of uninsured Latinos nationwide, or roughly 8.1 million, could qualify for health insurance subsidies through the marketplace. The figure also included people who find out through the application process that they qualify for Medicaid or that their kids can receive coverage through the Children’s Health Insurance Program. The program is for families that have incomes that exceed Medicaid limits.

According to the report, issued Tuesday, about 25 percent of uninsured individuals who are eligible for the marketplace nationwide are Latino (10.2 million out of 41.3 million). About half are between the ages of 18 and 35.

The Affordable Care Act established the marketplaces, also known as exchanges, as an online mechanism for consumers to compare and choose between competing health insurance plans. Open enrollment for eligibility this year runs through March 31.

“The health care law addresses longstanding inequalities that have affected minority communities across the nation, including lack of access to affordable health insurance coverage,” Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a news release.

Major Funding for Health coverage on KCPT provided by Assurant Employee Benefits and the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City.

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