Editor’s Note: People living with HIV need quality, affordable health coverage to help them stay healthy and live longer. Yet, nearly 30% of people living with HIV currently have no health insurance. Many of these individuals are African Americans, who are disproportionately impacted by the HIV epidemic. As this new HHS report notes: 95% of uninsured African Americans might qualify for lower costs on coverage if all states expanded Medicaid.
95% of uninsured African Americans might qualify for lower costs on coverage if all states expanded Medicaid.
According to a new report released today by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), six out of ten (4.2 million) uninsured African Americans who may be eligible for coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace might qualify for Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), or tax credits to help with the cost of premiums. If all states took advantage of new opportunities to expand Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act, 95 percent of uninsured African Americans who may be eligible for the Marketplace might qualify for Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), or tax credits to help with the cost of premiums.
“The health care law is working to address long standing disparities in health care coverage and improve the health of the African American community,” said Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius. “Through the Health Insurance Marketplace, 6.8 million uninsured African Americans have new options for affordable health coverage that covers a range of benefits, including important preventive services with no out-of-pocket costs.“
Today’s report also details uninsurance rates by state and provides several examples of what premiums might look like for African Americans living in major metropolitan areas. One fifth of uninsured African American citizens and permanent residents live the greater Atlanta, New York, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, and Detroit metropolitan areas. A 27-year-old in Atlanta with an income of $25,000 can pay as little as $105 a month for a bronze plan after applying the tax credit, while a family of four with an income of $50,000 could pay $148 a month for a bronze plan after applying the tax credit.
Nationwide, about 2 million uninsured African Americans may be eligible for coverage through Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
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.
An additional 2.2 million eligible uninsured African American adults with family incomes below 100 percent of the federal poverty level live in states that are not expanding Medicaid. The number of uninsured African Americans who may be eligible for access to health coverage at a lower cost would increase from 60 to 95 percent if all states adopted the Medicaid expansion.
To read today’s report, visit: http://aspe.hhs.gov/health/reports/2013/UninsuredAfricanAmericans/ib_UninsuredAfricanAmericans.cfm
To learn more about the Health Insurance Marketplace, including to shop and enroll in coverage online, visit HealthCare.gov. You can also enroll by phone by calling our call center 1-800-318-2596 (TTY: 1 855-889-4325) 24 hours a day, 7 days a week where help is available in 150 languages, or you can find in-person help from certified assisters in your area by visiting localhelp.healthcare.gov/. You can sign up for a health insurance plan through the Marketplace between now and the end of March 2014.