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The Affordable Care Act and Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders

Updated: May 23, 2020

The Affordable Care Act will help make health insurance coverage more affordable and accessible for millions of Americans. For Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, like other racial and ethnic minorities, the law will address inequities in health care and increase access to quality, affordable health coverage, invest in prevention and wellness, and give individuals and families more control over their care.

Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are impacted by health and health care differently than the general population. Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders tend to be less affected than other groups by certain cancers, but also are less likely to get screened for cancer. For example, in 2010, Asian American women over 18 years of age were least likely to have had a Pap test (68.0 percent) compared with other women: non-Hispanic white (72.8 percent), non-Hispanic black (77.4 percent), Hispanic/Latino (73.6 percent), American Indian/Alaska Native (73.4 percent). Additionally in 2008, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders ages 19 through 24 were 1.6 times more likely to have Hepatitis B than non-Hispanic whites[1]. Expanding opportunities for coverage can improve health outcomes for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. 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 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

The Affordable Care Act will provide nearly 2 million uninsured Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders an opportunity to get affordable health insurance coverage. The following provides an overview of the coverage and benefits available to Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders today and those made possible in 2014 by the Health Insurance Marketplace beginning..

Happening Now:

• An estimated 3.8 million Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders 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 tests and mammograms for women, and flu shots for children and adults.

• The 867,000 elderly and disabled Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders 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.

• 121,000 young Asian 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 Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

• 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. Health centers provide culturally competent and linguistically appropriate care.

Coming Soon:

• Nearly 2 million uninsured Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders will have new opportunities for coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace. Of the nearly 2 million uninsured Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders who are eligible for coverage through the Marketplace, 50 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 to purchase subsidized 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, who have not previously been eligible in most states.

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