If all states took advantage of new opportunities to expand Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act, Gunn said, 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 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).
Meanwhile, Gunn said the Affordable Care Act’s website is up and running and Americans can enroll online, or through a 24-hour call center — 800 318 2596 – or enroll in-person through community health centers across the country. Under the Affordable Care Act, Gunn said, black women can now get counseling, breast-feeding support, mammograms, cervix cancer screenings and pre-natal care.
“This is big deal,” Gunn said. “This is about changing the future of our community.”
Gunn said there are plenty of African Americans who dream of starting their own businesses and becoming entrepreneurs, but can’t because they need to keep their full-time jobs because somebody in their family needs health insurance.
“But now, because of the Affordable Care Act, people do not have to be locked into their jobs and more people in our communities can become entrepreneurs because the can buy low-cost insurance through the Affordable Care Act,” he said.
Gunn said Obama’s health care initiative is a game-changer for the African American community.
• 7.3 million African Americans with private insurance now have access to expanded preventive services with no cost sharing. This includes services such as colonoscopy screening for colon cancer, Pap smears and mammograms for women, well-child visits, and flu shots for all children and adults.
• An estimated 5.1 million African American women with private health insurance now have guaranteed access to women’s preventive services without cost sharing. These services include well-woman visits, HPV testing, counseling services, breastfeeding support, mammograms and screenings for cervical cancer, prenatal care, and other services.
• The 4.5 million elderly and disabled African Americans 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.
• More than 500,000 young African American adults between ages 19 and 25 who would otherwise have been uninsured, including 230,000 African American women, now have coverage under their parents employer-sponsored or individually purchased health plan.
“The Affordable Care Act will change the future of our community because if you are not healthy in your mind and not healthy in your body how much can you really contribute to your family and your community?” Gunn asked.
“This is a great opportunity to transform lives long term,” he added, “and to make sure the African American community is healthy.”