Introduction to Affordable Care Act (ACA) and its Implications for Multicultural Populations

Dec 04, 12 Introduction to Affordable Care Act (ACA) and its Implications for Multicultural Populations

By Martha C. Rivera, Director, Strategy and Insights, and Beata Luczywek, Junior Executive

We begin our 12 part blog series on the Affordable Care Act and Multicultural Populations.  

Health Care Reform is also known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), in short, the Affordable Care Act (ACA), or simply Obama Care. The Act aims to improve the current health care system by increasing access to health care for all Americans.2 It strives to reduce health care expenses by capping out of pocket expenses and requiring free preventative health services.1

Effective January 1, 2014, health insurance will be mandatory for all American residents. For those who already have access to health insurance, the Act will prevent insurance companies from dropping coverage when health status changes and will prevent dollar amount limits that cap coverage per year or per lifetime.2 For those who do not have access to health care coverage, the Act will provide access to coverage and may even subsidize costs, depending on income and type of employment.2

The Act contains six ways to obtain coverage: Medicaid, Medicare, Employer-based, Individual, Basic Health Plan, and Small Group. The details on the implications of ACA within the multicultural marketplace will be discussed in subsequent posts. If an individual fails to acquire health insurance by one of the means listed above, they will be taxed accordingly.

“All U.S. residents, including Hispanics and the multicultural populations, need to prepare for the terms of the Affordable Care Act,” says George L. San Jose, president and chief creative officer at The San Jose Group. “This is an opportunity for healthcare providers and insurance companies to reach their full sales potential with culturally relevant communications targeting the non-English fluent Hispanic and multicultural segments in the language and technology they prefer, via traditional and social media strategies.”


Timeline for ACA – Part 1

The Health Care Reform law will take full effect January 1, 2014. However, certain parts of the law have already been enacted. In 2010, the new Patient’s Bill of Rights plan was passed, protecting Americans from the worst insurance company abuses. The new Patient’s Bill of Rights allows patients to make informed decisions about their health.3  Through its many modifications, the Bill keeps young adults covered by allowing children to stay on their parents’ health insurance plan up until age 26. In addition, it allowed Americans to be eligible for health insurance even with pre-existing conditions, and it marked the beginning of free preventative care, and the Bill gave policy holders a right to appeal insurance company decisions to avoid coverage. 3

By 2012, states are required to submit health benefit benchmark plans and exchange plans. Also, federal grants become available to states so that states can begin establishing coverage. In 2013, the federal government will establish an exchange for states that are not ready, willing, or able to provide their own exchanges. By October 1, 2013, exchanges must be ready to enroll members.

By 2014, the Act will be enacted to the fullest extent. Americans will be required to purchase the health insurance or pay a fine. Tax credits will be given to those who cannot afford health insurance. It has been estimated that about 33 million people will be newly eligible for health insurance under the ACA terms. Upon full implementation of the reform, about 46% of the insured in the U.S. will be of multicultural origin.

Look for Part 2 of our Affordable Care Act and Multicultural Populations in a future blog.



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