Since the implementation of the Affordable Care Act in 2010, many Latino families have seen improved access to and quality of healthcare. Many families who didn’t have insurance before the Affordable Care Act are now covered, and many of those who already had insurance now have better coverage. In addition, the healthcare law addresses disparities in access to affordable and quality health coverage.
Latinos suffer certain illnesses at higher rates than non-Hispanic white Americans. For example, about 31.9 percent of Latinos were obese in 2010, compared to 26.1 percent of non-Hispanic whites. This puts them at higher rates of risk for diabetes, heart disease, and other illnesses associated with obesity.
More Latinos contract colorectal cancer than non-white Hispanics, but this, like many disease statistics, is due to insurance issues. In 2010, only 46.5 percent of Latinos received a colorectal cancer screening, compared to 59.9 percent of non-Hispanic whites. It’s hard to receive screenings when you don’t have insurance to pay for it, and about 1 in 4 uninsured Americans are Latino.
Now, with the Affordable Care Act, millions of these uninsured people are benefiting from stronger coverage, or coverage at all, making it possible to catch and stop disease faster, and to engage in preventative measures.
Today, 8.8 million Latinos with private insurance have access to preventative services like Pap smears, mammograms, colonoscopy screening, child visits, and flu shots. In addition, all private plans in the healthcare marketplace cover prescription drugs, preventative services, mental health services, substance use disorder services, maternity care, newborn care, and more.
Under the Affordable Care Act, more than 278,000 Latinos will gain maternity coverage, and about 5 million Latina women will have guaranteed access to women’s preventative services without cost sharing.
Because of the $11 billion in the Affordable Care Act allotted to nearly 1,300 health centers, the number of patients served has increased to 5 million, and one in three of those patients is Latino.
The Affordable Care Act is changing healthcare in America, and promoting equality through access to services previously reserved for those with expensive coverage.