Last spring, the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation issued a research brief regarding the Affordable Care Act and African Americans. The brief provides estimates that suggest 3.8 million African Americans who would otherwise be uninsured will gain coverage by 2016. The following provides an overview of the coverage and benefits available to African Americans in 2012 and those beginning in 2014 as detailed in the brief.
- An estimated 5.5 million African Americans with private insurance now have access to expanded preventive services with no-cost sharing. These services include well-child visits, blood pressure and cholesterol screenings, Pap smears and mammograms for women, and flu shots for children and adults.
- The 4.5 million elderly and disabled African Americans who receive health coverage from Medicare also have access to an expanded list of preventive services with no cost-sharing, including annual wellness visits with personalized prevention plans, diabetes and colorectal cancer screening, bone mass measurement and mammograms.
- 410,000 young African American adults between ages 19 and 25 who would have been uninsured now have coverage under their parent’s employer-sponsored or individually purchased health plan.
- Major federal investments to improve quality of care are improving management of chronic diseases that are more prevalent among African Americans.
Applicable in 2014 and Thereafter
- An estimated 3.8 million African Americans who would otherwise be uninsured will gain coverage by 2016.
- Medicaid coverage expands to include Americans with family incomes at or below 133 percent of the federal poverty guidelines (currently Medicaid coverage expands to include Americans with family incomes at or below 133 percent of the federal poverty guidelines (currently $30,657 for a family of four) in 2014. This expansion includes adults without dependent children living at home, who have not previously been eligible in most states. These individuals will benefit by having stable health coverage through the Medicaid program in 2014. This expansion includes adults without dependent children living at home, who have not previously been eligible in most states. These individuals will benefit by having stable health coverage through the Medicaid program.
- Individuals with higher incomes (up to 400 percent of the federal poverty guidelines, $92,200 for a family of four) will be eligible to purchase subsidized coverage from the new Affordable Insurance Exchanges.
- 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 18 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 the more than 1,100 community health centers in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico will increase the number of patients served.