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The Hispanic community—a group whose vote is highly valued by both political parties—stands to benefit significantly from the Affordable Care Act (ACA). At least a third of all Hispanics under the age of 65, or 15.3 million people, lack health insurance. According to RAND estimates, 5.4 million of these individuals will gain coverage by 2016 because of the ACA.

Even more uninsured Hispanics could gain coverage, but the numbers depend on whether states act to expand Medicaid and whether Hispanics take advantage of new state and federal insurance marketplaces. So far, 26 states and the District of Columbia have decided to expand eligibility for Medicaid, including two states with large Hispanic populations, New York and California. Yet, Florida and Texas, home to an estimated 14 million Hispanic residents, are among those states that haven’t expanded Medicaid.

Hispanic adults have a number of important new coverage opportunities. Adults with incomes below 138 percent of poverty are eligible to enroll in Medicaid if their state opts to expand their Medicaid program. Adults with incomes above 138 percent of poverty are eligible to buy subsidized coverage in state and federal exchanges if they do not have affordable job-based coverage. Although undocumented immigrants are ineligible for Medicaid or participation in state and federal marketplaces, because of the ACA, legal immigrants are now eligible for Medicaid or subsidized private coverage depending on what state they live in and how long they have been residing in the United States.1

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