The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has the potential to dramatically improve rates of health insurance coverage for low-income Americans, including many vulnerable populations. In states that are opting to expand Medicaid, people with incomes up to 138 percent of poverty may enroll with little or no cost sharing. Individuals and families with household incomes between 100 and 400 percent of poverty are eligible for subsidies to purchase affordable coverage.

Although the federal government and a number of states have launched marketing efforts to educate Americans about coverage options under the ACA, vulnerable populations with traditionally poor access to health care may have missed the March 2014 enrollment deadline. Those that missed the deadline may apply for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program at any time, or for marketplace coverage outside of an open enrollment period if they experience a qualifying life event (e.g., getting married, having a baby, or leaving prison).

This fact sheet highlights particularly vulnerable populations that could benefit from insurance coverage, but may have trouble getting access, including: (1) racial and ethnic minority populations; (2) homeless individuals; (3) the jail-involved population; and (4) veterans. The fact sheet outlines opportunities to connect these individuals to coverage with an eye toward the next open enrollment period.