Now that the Supreme Court has ruled the Affordable Care Act is constitutional, we compiled a list of 10 provisions which will most likely impact Latino families.
Insurance must cover pre-existing conditions
Children with pre-existing conditions, such as asthma or diabetes, cannot be denied coverage. By 2014, this extends to all adults, though the law has resulted in the creation of some plans which allow adults with pre-existing conditions to obtain insurance.
No lifetime cap on coverage
A child or adult who has undergone extensive cancer treatment, for example, will no longer be hit a “lifetime cap” on coverage. By 2014, the law will phase out annual caps.
More women’s health services, birth control access
Beginning in 2013, birth control will be free for patients, and women will receive regular mammograms and cervical screenings. “Latina women with breast cancer, for example, are usually diagnosed at a later stage, so they have higher death rates,” says National Council of La Raza’s Jennifer Ng’andu. “Regular screening will start reducing these disparities.” Breastfeeding pump rentals and lactation help is covered at no cost to the patient. Domestic violence counseling and referral will be offered at no extra cost.
Increase in community health centers
About one out of three patients who use community health centers are Latino. Under the plan, 11 billion dollars will be invested in community centers, including one billion in new centers. In Philadelphia, the Congreso Health Center was recently built with funds for this purpose.
More Latino doctors, nurses
The law increases scholarships for medical students and expands nursing diversity grants, as well as provides loan repayments for primary care health providers committed to working in underserved areas.
Cultural competency training and programs
There will be more funds to train personnel in cultural differences, language barriers to more effectively serve Latino patients.
Well visits, preventive services for Medicare patients
Under the new law, Medicare includes a yearly well-visit as well as 72 preventive services for Seniors. The law also successively closes the “donut hole” for prescription drug spending.
Tax credits for small business owners
Around 4 million small businesses with up to 25 employees are eligible for tax credits of up to 35 percent, and it is expected to go to 50 percent by 2014.
Uninsured will be able to buy or access coverage
Latinos who are either freelancers or work on their own, are retired but too young for Medicare, or are unemployed but do not qualify for Medicaid will be able to buy insurance through exchanges at affordable rates. Uninsured adults who can pay for insurance but refuse will pay a penalty ranging from $695 to $2,085 depending on income, but it does not exceed 2.5 percent of income. There are hardship exemptions built into the system.
Young adults can stay in parents’ plan until age 26
This provision, already in effect, has added around 750,000 young Latinos to the insurance rolls, according to figures.