The Affordable Care Act and Latinos
The Affordable Care Act will help make health insurance coverage more affordable and accessible for millions of Americans. For Latinos, like other racial and ethnic minorities, the law will address inequities and increase access to quality, affordable health coverage, invest in prevention and wellness, and give individuals and families more control over their care.
Latinos suffer from certain illnesses at higher levels than white Americans. Roughly 31.9 percent of Latinos were obese in 2010, compared to 26.1 percent of whites, with the disparity greater among women (33.1 percent compared to 24.5 percent). While Latinos are less likely to have heart disease compared to non-Hispanic whites primarily due to their young median age, they face higher rates of the risk factors that can lead to heart disease such as obesity and diabetes. Latinas have disproportionate rates of cervical cancer, which they contract at 1.6 times the rate of white women. Only 46.5 percent of Latinos received a colorectal cancer screening in 2010, compared with 59.9 percent of non-Hispanics. These health outcomes may result in part from lack of timely preventive services or screenings, often associated with a lack of health insurance coverage. Expanding opportunities for coverage can improve health outcomes for Latinos.
Already, the Affordable Care Act has benefited the nearly 85% of Americans who already have insurance:
- 3.1 million young adults have gained coverage through the parents’ plans
- 6.6 million seniors are paying less for prescription drugs
- 105 million Americans are paying less for preventative care and no longer face lifetime coverage limits
- 13.1 million Americans have received rebates from insurance companies
- 17 million children with pre-existing conditions no longer denied coverage or charged extra
Beginning in 2014, the Affordable Care Act will provide 10.2 million uninsured Latino Americans an opportunity to get affordable health insurance coverage. The following provides an overview of the coverage and benefits available to Latinos today and those made possible in 2014 by the Health Insurance Marketplace. .
- 8.2 million Latinos with private insurance now have access to expanded preventive services with no cost sharing. This includes services such as colonoscopy screening for colon cancer, Pap smears and mammograms for women, well-child visits, flu shots for all children and adults, and many more.
- An estimated 4.9 million Latina women with private health insurance now have guaranteed access to women’s preventive services without cost sharing. These services include well-woman visits, HPV testing, counseling services, breastfeeding support, mammograms and screenings for cervical cancer, prenatal care, and other services.
- 3.9 million elderly and disabled Latinos who receive health coverage from Medicare have access to many preventive services with no cost-sharing, including annual wellness visits with personalized prevention plans, colorectal cancer and obesity screening, and mammograms.
- 913,000 Latino young adults between ages 19 and 25 who would have been uninsured, including 375,000 Latinas, now have coverage under their parents’ employer-sponsored or individually purchased health plan.
- About 11.8 million Latinos, including 4.4 million adult Latinas, no longer have lifetime limits on their health insurance plans thanks to the Affordable Care Act.
- Major federal investments to improve quality of care are improving management of chronic diseases that are more prevalent among Latinos.
- The health care workforce will be more diverse due to a near tripling of the National Health Service Corps. Latino physicians make up about 16 percent of the Corps, a percentage that greatly exceeds their 5 percent share of the national physician workforce.
- Investments in data collection and research will help us better understand the causes of health care disparities and develop effective programs to eliminate them.
- Targeted interventions, such as Community Transformation Grants, will promote healthy lifestyles, lower health care costs, and reduce health disparities.
- Increased funding available to the more than 1,100 community health centers will increase the number of patients served. One of every three patients at a health center is Latino.
- 10.2 million uninsured Latinos, including 4.6 million Latinas, will have new opportunities for coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace. for coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace. Of the 10.2 million uninsured Latinos who are eligible for coverage through the Marketplace, 55 percent are men.
- The Marketplace is a destination where consumers can compare insurance options in simple, easy to understand language. At the Marketplace, consumers will be able to compare insurance options based on price, benefits, quality and other factors with a clear picture of premiums and cost-sharing amounts to help them choose the insurance that best fits their needs.
- Consumers may be eligible for free or low cost coverage, or advance premium tax credits that lower monthly premiums right away. Individuals with higher incomes (up to 400 percent of the federal poverty level, or $94,200 for a family of four) will be eligible for premium tax credits to purchase coverage from the Health Insurance Marketplace.
- States have new opportunities to expand Medicaid coverage to include Americans with family incomes at or below 133 percent of the federal poverty level (generally $31,322 for a family of four in 2013). This expansion includes adults without dependent children living at home. These adults have not previously been eligible in most states.
- Starting in 2014, 278,000 Latinas who currently buy coverage in the individual market will gain maternity coverage, as part of the Affordable Care Act’s requirement for plans to cover essential health benefits.
Posted on: April 10, 2012
Last updated: September 30, 2013