Affordable Healthcare Outreach and Enrollment


Grantee: El Centro De La Raza
Timeframe: July 2014 – June 2017 | Total Amount: $237,124

Year 1: July 2014 – June 2015. Amount: $77,874
Year 2: July 2015 – June 2016. Amount: $77,867
Year 3: July 2016 – June 2017. Amount: $81,383


El Centro de la Raza (ECDLR) plans to increase access to health resources and reduce health disparities among low-income Latinos residing in Seattle and King County. ECDLR will use funds from PHPDA to hire a full-time Enrollment Navigator to help uninsured participants in its 44 programs navigate the Washington website and enroll in health coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

This process will facilitate enrollment, education and retention. The primary function of the Enrollment Navigator will be to provide information and assistance to individuals eligible for health coverage and link them to a medical/dental home. In addition they will provide information that will allow individuals to make a well informed decision in selecting their provider and plan at the time of enrollment. They will also provide information on how to navigate state, plan and provider systems. Part of this process will be simply educating participants about their options and obligations under the ACA. In cases where the participant cannot afford or qualify for coverage, the Enrollment Navigator will refer them to Sea Mar Community Health Centers to access other health resources. This will involve establishing a formal partnership with Sea Mar, a process that is already underway.

There are currently 171,881 Latinos in King County, making up 8.9 percent of the total population. Despite rapid population growth Latinos remain economically and politically disenfranchised, confronted by poverty, cultural/linguistic barriers, lack of access to education/health resources and a general lack of confidence navigating US institutions. With the implementation of the ACA, agencies that would have had resources to outreach to the Latino community have been overwhelmed by the demand from English-speaking populations—because of this the culturally competent and linguistically appropriate outreach necessary for enrolling Latinos in health plans has not been effectively carried out. ECDLR has a 41 year history serving the Latino community of King County, and is uniquely positioned to carry out this work, potentially ensuring that thousands of marginalized people receive access to health coverage. We estimate that we will reach at least 1,500 households a year, and enroll 480 to 720.

Through discussions with Sea Mar, we have identified a series of issues unique to Latinos that prevents them from accessing health care services, including those provided under the ACA. Because of language barriers, most ACA information that has penetrated the community is inaccurate or outright misinformation, leading to fear and misunderstanding about what options are available. A large proportion assume that coverage is not available for immigrant populations and are confusing what qualifies as legal status versus being undocumented. Many Latinos are not aware that undocumented pregnant women and children are eligible for coverage in this state. Some Latinos are reluctant to sign up or even approach because they’re afraid their personal information will be reported to the Department of Homeland Security. They have also expressed frustration and confusion with discrepancies that occur throughout the enrollment process—if an error occurs during the application, they may exit the process prematurely believing they are already enrolled.

ECDLR understand these issues because our leadership and staff are bicultural and bilingual, and hail from the community and culture they serve. Because the agency is immersed in the Latino community on a daily basis, we hear about these issues first hand, making us highly qualified to outreach to them and educate them on the ACA enrollment process. We are currently embarking on a major development, the Plaza Roberto Maestas. Named for our founder the civil rights leader, the plaza will include low- and mixed-income housing and community space—we can utilize this space to make health care enrollment and education a permanent feature of the organization.

In 2012, ECDLR served 18,633 individuals and 9,389 households in 44 programs, including emergency food and housing services, education and asset-building classes, child and youth development programs and policy advocacy initiatives—between July 2012 and June 2013, 99 percent of participants enrolled in United Way-funded programs met their outcomes. We have the capacity and expertise to carry out this work. We have worked for several years with Sea Mar to enroll low-income Latino families into Washington State’s Basic Health Plan (through an ongoing partnership with Sea Mar).

About Our Grantee

El Centro De La Raza

As an organization grounded in the Latino community, El Centro de la Raza’s mission is to build unity across all racial and economic sectors, to organize, empower, and defend our most vulnerable and marginalized populations and to bring justice, dignity, equality, and freedom to all the peoples of the world.

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