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The ACA is Working for the African-American Community

In every community across the country, the Affordable Care Act is working to increase access to affordable, quality health care. This is especially true of the African-American Community. As we head into the next Open Enrollment period (Nov. 1, 2015 – Jan. 31, 2016), it’s important to take stock we’ve accomplished together. To learn more about Open Enrollment, or to check our your coverage options, visit: Healthcare.gov, cuidadodesalud.gov, or call 1-800-318-2596 (TTY 1-855-889-4325).

Transforming the American Healthcare System

Historic Reduction in the Uninsured. Since the passage of the Affordable Care Act, we have seen the largest reduction in the uninsured in four decades—with about 16.4 million uninsured people gaining health coverage. Those gains come primarily from the Marketplace, young adults who can stay on their parents’ plans until they turn 26, and Medicaid expansions.

Health Care Coverage is now Affordable for Millions of Americans. Of the approximately 9.9 million people who purchased coverage through the Marketplace as of June 30, 2015, nearly 8.3 million (84 percent) received a tax credit to help them pay their monthly premium. In 2015, nearly 90 percent of Marketplace shoppers using HealthCare.gov could purchase coverage for $100 a month or less after tax credits. Further, a Commonwealth Fund study found that in 2014, fewer Americans had problems paying medical bills or medical debt, and fewer went without care because they couldn’t afford it.

Higher Quality Coverage. After years of dropped coverage, flimsy plans and barriers to care, everyone’s coverage has improved because people, including those who get health insurance through their employers, have new protections. No one can be dropped just because they get sick, and millions of people now have coverage for trips to the emergency room, filling out their prescriptions and getting the preventive services they need.

How the ACA is Working for African-Americans

  • Last year, an estimated 6 in 10 uninsured African Americans qualified for Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Plan (CHIP), or lower costs on monthly premiums through the Health Insurance Marketplace.
  • Many shoppers found coverage for less than $50 a month and nearly 7 in 10 found coverage for less than $100.
  • 7.8 million African Americans with private insurance now have access to preventive services like mammograms or flu shots with no co-pay or deductible
  • More than 500,000 African American young adults between the ages of 19 and 26 who would have been uninsured now have coverage under their parents’ plan.
  • 2.3 million African Americans (ages 18-64) gained health insurance coverage, lowering the uninsured rate among African Americans by 6.8 percentage points.
  • If all states took advantage of new opportunities to expand Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act, 95 percent of eligible uninsured African Americans might qualify for Medicaid, CHIP, or programs to help lower the cost of health insurance coverage in the Marketplace.

More Work Ahead

Further Expanding Coverage. Even with the major strides we’ve seen, too many in the African-American community remain uninsured. We must all work together to continue to spread the word about new coverage options. This includes working with the states that have yet to expand Medicaid to get as many people covered as possible.

From Coverage to Care. Now that millions more individuals have health coverage, we are working to educate people about their coverage and to reduce barriers so that they can get the care they need to live longer and healthier lives. Ultimately, one of the key steps in addressing the many health issues facing the African-American community is helping each individual understand how to take advantage of the full benefits of their health coverage.

How You Can Help

Know the Facts. Open Enrollment for the Health Insurance Marketplace runs from November 1, 2015 to January 30, 2016. Health coverage can start as soon as January 1, 2016 for those who sign up by December 15, 2015. Those who have already received health coverage through the Marketplace should come back to shop and review their coverage options as new, better, and more affordable plans may be available for them in 2016. To make sure you get the best deal for January 1. 2016 coverage, you need to take action by December 15, 2015. Even outside of Open Enrollment, one can get coverage if they have experienced certain life events such as getting married, or moving.

Talk to Your Friends/Family. Friends and family are some of the most trusted voices when it comes to important financial and health decisions. Talk to them, and encourage them to check out Healthcare.gov. If they’d like more help selecting a plan, let them know about our call center at 1-800-318-2596. (TTY 1-855-889-4325). If they’d like to talk to someone in person, let them know that free in person help is available, and they can find out about getting help in their area by visiting: Localhelp.healthcare.gov

Spread the Word. Help spread the word by following us and sharing our content on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, joining the #GetCovered conversation, or sharing your story with us. You never know who you might help by taking even a small step to spread the word.

To Learn More on How the ACA Helps African-Americans


Content created by Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs (ASPA)
Content last reviewed on September 16, 2015
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