The Affordable Care Act and African Americans
The Affordable Care Act –will help make health insurance coverage more affordable and accessible for millions of Americans. For African Americans, like other racial and ethnic minorities, the law will address inequities and will increase access to quality, affordable health coverage, invest in prevention and wellness, and give individuals and families more control over their care.
African Americans suffer from higher rates of a range of illnesses as compared to the general population. African Americans have the highest mortality rate of any racial and ethnic group for all cancers combined and for most major cancers, including stomach, liver, prostate, and colon cancers1. Even though the rate of breast cancer incidence is 10 percent lower among African American women, they are 40 percent more likely to die from the disease. 7 Earlier screening and detection for African American women could help reduce this death rate. Although African American adults are 40 percent more likely to have high blood pressure2, they are 18 percent less likely than their non-Hispanic White counterparts to have their blood pressure under control3. In addition, black adults are less likely than non-Hispanic white adults to have received the flu vaccine in the past year.4 African American adults are also twice as likely to be diagnosed with diabetes5. The infant mortality rate among African Americans is 2.3 times that of non-Hispanic whites; black infants are four times more likely than non-Hispanic white infants to die due to complications related to low birthweight6. Expanding opportunities for coverage, and providing no-cost screenings and quality disease management to patients, can improve health outcomes for African Americans.
Already, the Affordable Care Act has benefitted 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 & 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 6.8 million uninsured African Americans an opportunity to get affordable health insurance coverage. The following provides an overview of the coverage and benefits available to African Americans today and those made possible by the Health Insurance Marketplace.
- 7.3 million African Americans 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, and flu shots for all children and adults.
- An estimated 5.1 million African American 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.
- The 4.5 million elderly and disabled African Americans who receive health coverage from Medicare also have access to many preventive services with no cost-sharing, including annual wellness visits with personalized prevention plans, diabetes and colorectal cancer screening, bone mass measurement and mammograms.
- More than 500,000 young African American adults between ages 19 and 25 who would otherwise have been uninsured, including 230,000 African American women, now have coverage under their parents employer-sponsored or individually purchased health plan.
- About 10.4 million African Americans, including 3.9 million adult African American women, 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 more prevalent among African Americans.
- The health care workforce will be more diverse due to a near tripling of the National Health Service Corps. African American physicians make up about 17 percent of Corps physicians, a percentage that greatly exceeds their 6 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 more than 1,100 community health centers will increase the number of patients served. One of every five patients at a health center is African American.
- 6.8 million uninsured African Americans, including 3 million African American women, will have new opportunities for coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace.
- 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, over 390,000 African American women 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.
1Source: NCI 2013. Seer Cancer Statistics Review, 1975-2010. Table 1.21. http://seer.cancer.gov/csr/1975_2010/sections.html
2Source: CDC 2012. Summary Health Statistics for U.S. Adults: 2011. Table 2. http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/series/sr_10/sr10_256.pdf
3Source: 2012 National Healthcare Disparities Report. Table T2_2_1_2-1 http://www.ahrq.gov/qual/qrdr12/index.html
4Source: CDC 2012. Health United States, 2011. Table 88. http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/hus/hus11.pdf
5Source: CDC 2012. Summary Health Statistics for U.S. Adults: 2011. Table 8.http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/series/sr_10/sr10_256.pdf
6Source: CDC 2013. Infant Mortality Statistics from the 2009 Period Linked Birth/Infant Death Data Set. National Vital Statistics Reports. Table A. http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr61/nvsr61_08.pdf
7Source: NCI 2013. Seer Cancer Statistics Review, 1975-2010. Table 4.19.http://seer.cancer.gov/csr/1975_2010/sections.html
Posted on: April 12, 2012
Last updated: September 30, 2013