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Center for Labor Research and Education

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Language May Affect Health Exchanges

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Pharmacy News Flash

More than 100,000 CaIifornians are likely to miss out on health care offered through newly established insurance exchanges because of language barriers, according to a recent study. Released in late February by the California PanEthnic Health Network, the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research and the UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education, the study is based on a simulation of likely enrollment in health care reform programs in California. The study projected that more than 1 million people with limited English proficiency will be eligible to receive tax credits to purchase affordable coverage with California’s Health Benefit Exchange. Yet only 42 percent of eligible adults with limited English proficiency are expected to enroll.

More than 15 million California residents speak a language other than English at home, and 7 million have limited English proficiency. The study’s researchers said their findings underscore the importance of adopting a diverse outreach and education strategy.