The Top 5 Things Latinas Need to Know About the Affordable Care Act

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Signed into law by President Obama in March 2010, the health care law – the Affordable Care Act – will help ensure Latinas and their families get the security they deserve and are protected from the worst insurance company abuses. The healthier we are as Latinas, the more freedom we have to pursue our dreams and contribute to our families, our workplaces and communities.

Here are five ways the new health care law (the Affordable Care Act) helps you: 

Better health insurance coverage that will be there when you need it most. 

Today, thanks to the Affordable Care Act, insurance companies cannot deny coverage to children because of a pre-existing condition, such as cancer, asthma, or diabetes. In 2014, insurers will be banned from discriminating against anyone with a pre-existing condition. It will end the practice of denying coverage to a woman because she is a breast cancer survivor or gave birth by c-section. Women can also rest easy knowing that insurance companies can no longer charge them more than men or deny anyone care because of lifetime dollar limits on coverage.

Free preventive services to help keep you healthy or prevent a condition from getting worse. 

Prevention is the key to better health. That’s why the health care law covers preventive services for women without charging co-pays, deductibles, or co-insurance. Now, many insurance plans cover services like mammograms, Pap smears, and well woman visits at no additional cost.

Better health care and more opportunities for young Latinos to become doctors and nurse practitioners.

Now, young adults up to age 26 may remain on their parents’ plans if they do not have coverage through their jobs. This has enabled nearly 1 million Latinos to get coverage. 

The health care law also helps increase the number of doctors, nurse practitioners and other health care providers working in communities with significant health needs. And for young Americans who want to serve as doctors and nurse practitioners, the National Health Service Corps provides scholarships and loan repayment in return for working in the communities where these health professionals are needed most. Today, Latino physicians compose about 20 percent of the Corps, which greatly exceeds their 5.5 percent share of the national physician workforce. The size of the National Health Service Corps has nearly tripled under this Administration.

Stronger Medicare. 

The new health care law provides a 50 percent discount on brand name prescription drugs for people in the Medicare “donut hole,” the prescription drug coverage gap. More than 5 million people with Medicare have saved an average of over $600. The donut hole will be closed completely by 2020. Also, seniors and people with disabilities, including 3.9 million Latinos, have received preventive services such as flu vaccines, diabetes screenings, and an annual wellness visit with their doctor to discuss their health concerns for free. 

Shopping for insurance made easy.

Beginning in 2014, millions of Americans will gain access to affordable, high-quality care through the establishment of Affordable Insurance Exchanges, new marketplaces where many people will be able to purchase affordable coverage and Medicaid. The health care law also supports community health centers that serve all patients and where more than one in three patients is Latino. 

Cecilia Munoz is the Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council. Learn more about the Affordable Care Act and how it is improving health care coverage for Latinos: Visit http://www.healthcare.gov or http://cuidadodesalud.gov.

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