aca_aapiThe Health Insurance Marketplace has helped more than 9.5 million people enroll in Obamacare, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. But the vast majority of enrollees are Caucasian and African American. The White House has developed new initiatives to boost enrollment among Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI). This week, the Office of Minority Health is hosting several educational events, targeting those groups in an effort to generate awareness and encourage enrollment.

A Kaiser Family Foundation analysis of Marketplace enrollees by race and ethnicity, found that the AAPI accounted for less than 6% of total enrollment in 2014.  Asian American women are among the least likely to be screened for their annual pap-smear, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.  In 2008, young Asian American and Pacific Islander adults were almost twice as likely to have Hepatitis B than other minorities living in the US. More than 4 million Asian Americans have enrolled in health insurance plans and have access to preventive services covered at 100%.  That fact could decrease these health disparities.

Many have benefited from Obamacare by having access to better coverage options, and therefore access to more health care. 121,000 Asian Americans ages 19-26 can now receive coverage under their parent’s plan. Data collection and research helps to develop additional programs that will address the needs of the AAPI. Open enrollment runs from November 15 until February 15—there’s still time to sign up.

So why haven’t more Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders enrolled? Language and cultural barriers, low-income, and failure to understand eligibility, could be some of the problems according to the Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Form. Similar issues prevented a large number of Hispanics from enrolling last year. The White House initiative on AAPI seeks to improve linguistic access and cultural competence.

Today, January 28: Listen in to a one-hour webinar between the AAPI, Surgeon General Vivek, and Tina Tchen from the White House. The event starts at 2:30 P.M., and registration is free.

Tomorrow, January 29: don’t miss out on the Twitter Storm on National Youth Enrollment Day of Action, from 3:00 P.M. – 4:00 P.M. Log into Twitter, and follow #AAPIhealth. Hosts include @HHSGov, @WhiteHouseAAPI, @apiahf, and @AAPCHOtweets, with special guest @GeorgeTakai.

Want more information? Check out the Department of Health and Human Services website.

-- By Alice Robeson