HHS pledges more funds to enroll minorities in O-Care

Federal health officials announced $3.2 million in new funding to help racial and ethnic minorities enroll in health coverage under ObamaCare. 

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Office of Minority Health awarded grants to 13 organizations that will help educate and encourage minority communities to sign up for health plans through the marketplaces. 

The grantees — which include universities, community health centers, nonprofits and charities — fall under the Partnership to Increase Coverage in Communities (PICC), an initiative devoted to increasing minority enrollment in health insurance. 

Minority enrollment has been a priority for the administration since the healthcare law's rollout last year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported in 2013 that two out of five Latinos and one out of four blacks are uninsured. 

“Racial and ethnic minorities have lower rates of health insurance coverage than the national average and stand to benefit greatly from the Affordable Care Act,” said J. Nadine Garcia, Director of the Office of Minority Health, in a statement. 

Enrollment among minorities was not as strong as the administration had hoped in the exchanges' first year. 

According to a report released in May by HHS, Latinos accounted for 10.7 percent of enrollments in the federal exchanges and blacks accounted for 16.7 percent. 

ObamaCare's next enrollment period starts Nov. 15 and will last three months, giving the administration and insurers much less time this year to market to underserved communities.