The Affordable Care Act and Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders

The Affordable Care Act is working in terms of affordability, access and quality, for Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander families, seniors, businesses and taxpayers. This includes those who were previously uninsured and those who had insurance that didn’t provide them with adequate coverage and financial security.

Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander families have more security, and many of those who already had insurance now have better coverage. Fewer Americans are uninsured. At the same time, as a country, we’re spending our health care dollars more wisely and we’re starting to receive higher quality care.

Health insurance coverage is now more affordable and accessible for millions of Americans. The Affordable Care Act invests in prevention and wellness, and gives individuals and families more control over their care. In addition, the law addresses disparities in access to quality, affordable health coverage.

Addressing Health Disparities

Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders are less likely than other groups to get screened for cancer. For example, in 2010, Asian American women over 18 years of age were the least likely to have had a Pap test (68.0 percent) compared with other women: non-Hispanic white (72.8 percent), non-Hispanic black (77.4 percent), Hispanic/Latino (73.6 percent), American Indian/Alaska Native (73.4 percent).

Additionally, in 2008, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders ages 19 through 24 were 1.6 times more likely to have Hepatitis B than non-Hispanic whites2. Expanding access to coverage can be an effective strategy for reducing disparities.

Millions of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders across the country are already benefiting from the stronger coverage and consumer protections made possible by the Affordable Care Act:

  • 4.3 million Asian 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.
  • Private plans in the Marketplace are required to cover 10 essential health benefit categories, including maternity and newborn care. Over 208,800 Asian Americans in the individual market alone are projected to gain maternity coverage under the Affordable Care Act.
  • An estimated 2.5 million Asian 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, breastfeeding support and counseling, mammograms and screenings for cervical cancer, prenatal care, and other services.
  • 121,000 Asian American young adults between ages 19 and 26 who would have been uninsured, including 53,000 Asian American women, now have coverage under their parent’s employer-sponsored or individually purchased health insurance plan.
  • About 5.5 million Asian Americans, including 2.1 million adult Asian American women, no longer have lifetime or annual limits on their health insurance coverage thanks to the Affordable Care Act.
  • Major federal investments in quality of care are improving management of chronic diseases that are more prevalent among Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.
  • Investments in data collection and research will help us better understand the causes of health care disparities and develop effective programs to address them.
  • The $11 billion in the Affordable Care Act for nearly 1,300 community health centers has increased the number of patients served by nearly 5 million. Health centers provide culturally competent and linguistically appropriate care.

Getting Covered

  • Consumers have access to health insurance that fits their needs and budget through the Health Insurance Marketplace. All plans in the Marketplace cover essential health benefits, pre-existing conditions, recommended preventive care and more. Open enrollment begins November 15, 2014 and ends on February 15, 2015. Enroll by December 15, 2014 for coverage that starts January 1, 2015.
  • Enrollment in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) is open year round.  Members of immigrant families lawfully residing in the United States may qualify for Medicaid and CHIP coverage, if they meet the eligibility criteria in that state; if they don’t, they may qualify for Marketplace coverage and assistance. And so far, twenty-seven states and Washington, D.C. have expanded their Medicaid programs to extend eligibility to more individuals. If all states took advantage of new opportunities to expand Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act, 90 percent of eligible uninsured Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders might qualify for Medicaid, CHIP, or tax credits to help with the cost of premiums in the Marketplace.
  • Many immigrant families are of “mixed status,” with members having different immigration and citizenship statuses. “Mixed status” families can apply for Medicaid and CHIP or for coverage through the Marketplace, where dependent family members may be eligible for programs that help lower the cost of Marketplace health insurance coverage. People without lawful immigration status are not eligible to enroll in the Marketplace. Medicaid provides payment for treatment for an emergency medical condition for individuals who do not meet the citizenship or immigration status requirements for Medicaid and are otherwise eligible for Medicaid in the state.  It is important to note that information provided by applicants or beneficiaries won’t be used for immigration enforcementpurposes.  Also, applying for Medicaid or CHIP, or getting help with health insurance costs in the Marketplace, does not make someone a “public charge” and will not affect someone’s chances of becoming a Lawful Permanent Resident or U.S. citizen.
  • For more information on the Marketplace, Medicaid, and CHIP visit If you have questions or need to find someone who can help you in person, find local help at: Or call the Marketplace Call Center at 1-800-318-2596. Translation services are available. TTY users should call 1-855- 889-4325. The call is free.

Written by: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs (ASPA)

November 5, 2014


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