Protecting and Defending Our Community’s Health

By David Thomsen, Policy Analyst, Health Policy Project, NCLR

All Americans should have the opportunity and ability to achieve good health. While we have made significant progress towards achieving this goal, we know that this progress has been uneven for certain communities. April is National Minority Health Month, and as it comes to a close, we want to take the opportunity to shine a light on the gains we have made, while addressing the remaining work necessary to reduce the health inequities facing our country. While we have a long way to go to reach this goal, many communities—including Latinos—have made significant progress under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Between 2013, when key provisions of the ACA came into effect, and 2015:

  • More than four million Latino adults and 600,000 children gained coverage.
  • The overall Latino uninsured rate declined from one in four in 2013 to one in six in 2015.
  • The uninsured rate for Latino children experienced the largest two-year decline on record (11.5% to 7.5%).

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Advancing Health Equity through the Affordable Care Act

No individual, or group of people, should face discrimination, especially when it comes to something so fundamental as accessing health care. Yet for too long, this has been the case. However, with implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2010, not only did the law provide new opportunities to access quality, affordable health coverage, but it established new civil rights protections in health care.acasigned_new

Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issued the much-anticipated “Nondiscrimination in Health Programs and Activities” final rule, otherwise known as Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Section 1557 builds upon longstanding federal civil rights laws by barring discrimination based on race, color, national origin, age, disability, and sex in our health care system. It applies nondiscrimination protections to all health programs that receive federal funding. Health care plans sold through the federal health insurance marketplace are covered under this law, as are hospitals, clinics, and other health care providers. Programs like Medicaid and Medicare are all covered under this provision as well.

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Fulfilling the Promise of the Affordable Care Act for the Latino LGBT Community

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Since the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was signed into law, nearly 18 million Americans, including four million Latinos, have gained access to health care. This open enrollment period alone has seen well over two million signups, including more than 700,000 new consumers in the federal health insurance marketplace. While we have made a lot of progress, we must continue to reach out to all groups, especially within the Latino community, where one in five remains uninsured.

The lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Latino population has long faced barriers preventing them from obtaining quality health care. The ACA works to address these disparities, providing important protections and benefits to ensure everyone in the LGBT community can access the care they need.

For many in LGBT community, living with HIV, diabetes, cancer, or other chronic conditions, presented a barrier to obtaining health services. A preexisting condition once meant someone could be legally barred from getting insurance, but thanks to the ACA, people with preexisting conditions can no longer be denied coverage.

To ensure everyone has the right to health care, recent civil rights protections in the ACA expressly prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex, race, class, age, disability, and now sexual orientation. The provision, known as Section 1557, applies nondiscrimination protections to all health programs that receive funding from the federal government. Plans sold through the federal health insurance marketplace are covered under this law, as are hospitals, clinics, and other health care providers. Federal programs like Medicaid and Medicare are all covered under this provision as well.

The ACA has helped Latino LGBT individuals gain access to the health care they deserve. NCLR remains committed to communicating what the ACA means for LGBT people and ensuring the promise and benefits of the ACA reach our entire community!

It is important to make sure you and your loved ones stay healthy in 2016. Open enrollment is in full swing and the deadline to get covered is January 31, 2016. To find a health plan that best fits your needs, head to healthcare.gov or CuidadoDeSalud.gov and get covered!

The Promise of the Affordable Care Act Must Reach All Communities

By David Castillo, New Media Manager, NCLR

Since the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was signed into law, more than 15 million Americans have received some type of health coverage. This open enrollment period alone has seen almost 7 million new sign-ups. Still, there are many more to reach, especially in the Latino community, where one in four remains uninsured.

The lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Latino population is a community that is especially vulnerable to disparities. They often require special health care needs, and in some instances the ACA now provides important protections and benefits to ensure LGBT people can access that care.

New civil rights provisions in the ACA expressly prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, class, sex, age, disability, and certain other categories. The provision, known as Section 1557, applies nondiscrimination protections to any and all health programs that receive funding from the federal government. The federal Health Insurance Marketplace and the plans sold through it are all covered under this nondiscrimination provision.

For many LGBT people living with HIV, diabetes, cancer, or other chronic conditions, even obtaining health coverage has long been a challenge. Before the ACA, having a preexisting condition meant that someone could be legally barred from getting insurance. Now companies must adhere to strict rules that disallow companies from refusing health care to anyone with any preexisting condition.

Reaching communities that are especially susceptible to our health system’s disparities is paramount if the promise of the ACA is to be fulfilled. We must communicate what the ACA means and connect eligible individuals to information and resources necessary to understanding their options for enrolling in a plan that meets their budget and needs. Let’s work to make sure the promise and benefits of the ACA reaches our entire community!

The deadline to enroll in coverage through the Marketplace is February 15, 2015. To learn more, head to healthcare.gov or call 1-800-318-2596.