Minorities not signing up for Obamacare

Posted at 6:57 PM, May 01, 2014
and last updated 2014-05-01 18:57:47-04

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — Minorities have largely shied away from signing up for Obamacare, though they are more likely to be uninsured than whites.

Some 63% of the people who picked insurance plans on the exchanges and reported their race were white, according to federal data released Thursday. Blacks made up 16.7% of sign-ups, while Latinos accounted for only 10.7% and Asians for 7.9%.

The relatively scant participation by minorities comes despite a heavy push by the Obama administration and its supporters into Latino and black communities. Some 32% of the uninsured were Latinos and 15% were black in 2012, according to the most recent Census Bureau figures.

Whites made up only 45% of the uninsured in the U.S.

This was the first time the Department of Health & Human Services has reported the race of those signing up for Obamacare. Some 31% of those signing up did not report their race or ethnicity or chose “other.”

The data came in a report that showed just over 8 million people selected policies during the first open enrollment period, which stretched from October through March. It includes those who completed their applications during the special enrollment period through April 19.

Some 28% of them are between the ages of 18 and 34. The enrollment of young adults is being closely watched since they are presumed to be healthier and less costly, which will help offset the higher expenses generated by older enrollees.

It remains to be seen, however, how many people completed the enrollment process and paid their premiums. Insurers have generally said payments are running in the 80% range, though WellPoint Wednesday said that 90% of those signing up have paid so far.