February 09, 2015.
The federal and state health insurance
marketplaces will be open for the second round of enrollment from November 15,
2014, to February 15, 2015. For information on how to enroll, visit www.HealthCare.gov. The Affordable Care Act, or ACA, has helped
millions of uninsured Americans—especially African Americans—gain affordable,
high-quality health care coverage. As enrollment for 2015 coverage begins, here
are five facts to keep in mind about the effects of the ACA on the African
Affordable Care Act has led to a significant drop in the number of African
Americans who are uninsured. Health care reforms associated with the ACA
reduced the percentage of uninsured African Americans from 24.1 percent to 16.1
2013 and 2014.
of the ACA has greatly expanded access to quality health care for the African
American community. Nearly 6.8
Americans have become eligible for health coverage since the implementation of
the ACA due to Medicaid expansion and the financial assistance available to
funding for community health centers through the ACA will have a substantial
impact on the African American community. The ACA has allocated approximately $11
billion to fund
community health centers, enabling them to increase the number of patients they
serve. Nearly 25 percent of these
patients are African American.
provisions provide access to preventive care at no additional cost; this may
help curtail African American health disparities. African Americans currently
suffer from a litany of health disparities. For example, their infant mortality
rate is 2.3
times higher than
that of non-Hispanic whites. African American women are more
likely to die from
breast cancer than the larger U.S. population, even though they are less likely
to develop the disease. Access to preventive care can help reduce this
disparity, as earlier detection decreases the likelihood of death.
American women are eligible for additional insurance benefits, which can lead
to better health outcomes. The ACA requires that close to 5
American women enrolled in private health insurance have access to HPV testing,
mammograms, and prenatal care, among many other preventive services, at no
additional out-of-pocket cost.
African Americans are signing up for the ACA at impressive rates, a large
percentage of them remain uninsured. It is clear that the African American
community suffers from a lack of health care access, and there has never been a
better time to enroll. With regulations in place to keep premiums more constant
and rules that require more comprehensive benefits, people wary of insurance
companies can take comfort in the ACA’s consumer protections. Enrollment
through the exchange will support a policy that is providing millions of
Americans with increased access to health care.
Emmanuel Hurtado is a former Progress 2050 intern and
a student at Claremont McKenna College.