WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 23, 2011) – The President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders joins the Administration in celebrating the one-year anniversary of the passage of the Affordable Care Act. The law provides millions of Americans with more freedom and control over their health care choices.
“One in six Asian Americans, and one in four Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders are either uninsured or underinsured,” said Daphne Kwok, Chair of the President’s Advisory Commission. The Affordable Care Act provides more choices for the community to take control of their health care and consequently improve their lives.”
Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and other Pacific Islander communities experience high uninsurance rates; 26.7% of Hmong Americans, 22.5% of Bangladeshi Americans, and 17.4% of Micronesians live in poverty; and 35.5% of Korean Americans, 18.3% of Vietnamese Americans, and 17.7% of Indian Americans lack health coverage. Additionally, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders continue to have a high prevalence of diabetes, chronic hepatitis B, liver and cervical cancers.
The Affordable Care Act specifically assists the AAPI community by expanding coverage to 32 million Americans and strengthening the role of disease prevention and health promotion in addressing these chronic diseases.
Thanks to the law, AAPIs and all Americans are enjoying:
• Seniors have the freedom to get the care they need, including free preventive care, lower cost prescription drugs, and Medicare they can count on. Nearly 4 million Americans who hit the Medicare prescription drug coverage gap known as the “donut hole” received $250 tax-free rebates, and will receive a 50% discount on brand name prescription drugs if they hit the donut hole this year.
• Up to 4 million small businesses could receive tax credits to make employees’ health coverage more affordable.
• Insurance companies can no longer overcharge consumers just to boost profits and CEO salaries.
New coverage options
• Children with pre-existing conditions cannot be denied coverage in new health plans.
• Adults who have been locked out of the insurance marketplace because of a pre-existing condition can now buy coverage through a new Pre-Existing Condition Plan.
Better quality coverage
• People with insurance are free from worrying about losing their insurance due to a mistake on an application, or having it capped unexpectedly if someone is in an accident or becomes sick.
• All Americans in new insurance plans will receive preventive services without being charged a deductible, co-payment, or co-insurance.
“The Affordable Care Act not only gives individuals increased access to care, but our communities as a whole now have the policies and resources to better care for one another,” said Sefa Aina, Vice Chair of the President’s Advisory Commission. “Under the Affordable Care Act, we have an opportunity to address policies affecting health disparities – including improving federal data collection and reporting systems, developing our primary care workforce and expanding our community health care system so that culturally and linguistically appropriate services are accessible to our most underserved communities.”
The Affordable Care Act Matters to Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders
The White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders celebrates the anniversary of enactment of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) – health reform legislation passed by Congress and signed into law by President Obama on March 23, 2010.
Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, Americans have more freedom and control in their health care choices. Americans have the freedom from worrying about losing their insurance, or having it capped unexpectedly if someone is in an accident or becomes sick. They no longer have to live in fear of double-digit premium increases from their insurance companies without recourse or accountability. It frees Americans from discrimination when insurance companies deny coverage because of a pre-existing condition. It reduces costs for families and businesses. And it includes substantial new benefits and freedoms for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI’s) across the country.
These new choices, freedoms, and health care options are possible because the Affordable Care Act holds insurance companies accountable. And by covering more Americans and improving access to health coverage, the law makes it easier for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders to get the high-quality care they need. Historically, AAPI’s have faced significant barriers to accessing affordable health insurance and these barriers have contributed to health disparities:
• Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and other Pacific Islander communities experience high uninsurance rates; 26.7% of Hmong Americans, 22.5% of Bangladeshi Americans, and 17.4% of Micronesians live in poverty; and 35.5% of Korean Americans, 18.3% of Vietnamese Americans, and 17.7% of Indian Americans lack health coverage.
• Cervical cancer incidence rates are among the highest in the US for Laotian American, Samoan, Vietnamese American and Cambodian American women.
• Asian American adults aged 65 years and older were 30% less likely to have ever received the pneumonia shot, compared to white adults of the same age group.
• In Hawai’i, Asians, Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders ages 20 years or older are more than two times as likely to have diagnosed diabetes as white residents of similar age.
• Cancer is the leading cause of death for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. Native Hawaiians have the highest rate of deaths due to cancer compared to any other ethnic group in Hawaii and the third highest rate in the country
• Asian Americans are less likely to be tested for HIV/AIDS, and while the total number of reported AIDS cases has generally declined over the past five years for the white population, it has continued to increase for Asian Americans.
The Affordable Care Act will help reduce these disparities. The law will:
Expand Coverage for AAPI’s with a Pre-existing Condition
Under the law, insurance companies are already banned from denying coverage to children because of a pre-existing condition. In 2014, they are banned from discriminating against anyone with a pre-existing condition. And uninsured Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders with pre-existing conditions, such as diabetes and cancer, can now access the new Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan.
Preventive Care Services
Under the law, all Americans joining a new health care plan are able to receive recommended preventive services, like flu shots and various cancer screenings, with no out-of-pocket costs.
Give You the Freedom to Choose Your Own Doctor
Under the law, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders joining new insurance plans have the freedom to choose from any primary care provider and OB-GYN in their health plan’s network, without a referral.
End Insurance Company Discrimination
Under the law, insurance companies can no longer place a lifetime cap on the dollar amount of coverage an individual can receive – freeing cancer patients and individuals suffering from other chronic diseases from having to worry about going without treatment because of their lifetime limits. The law also restricts the use of annual limits and bans them completely in 2014. Over 9 million Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders with private health insurance coverage are no longer at risk of having the amount of coverage they may receive limited by their insurance company.
Insurance companies can no longer drop coverage when an individual gets sick because of simple mistake on an application. Up to 1 million Asian Americans who buy coverage on the individual market are no longer at risk of having their coverage dropped when they need it most.
Decreases Costs for Seniors on Medicare
Over 3 million Asian Americans who have Medicare coverage have access to critical free preventive care –like mammograms and colonoscopies— and get a free annual check-up visit. Nearly 4 million Medicare beneficiaries now have lower prescription drug costs because of a 50% discount on brand name prescription drugs when they hit the Medicare coverage gap – or “donut hole”.
Lowers Taxes for Up to 4 Million Small Businesses
Up to 4 million small businesses, including many of the nearly 250,000 small businesses owned by Asian Americans, benefit from the $40 billion in tax credits that help make providing coverage for their employees more affordable.
Expands Access to Community Health Centers
The Affordable Care Act increases the funding available to the more than 1,100 community health centers in all fifty states to enable them to double the number of patients they served from 19 million to nearly 40 million by 2015.