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What Health Reform Means for Children and Families

In March, the U.S. Congress passed historic health insurance reform legislation that will bring badly needed help to millions of Americans, including many African-American families and children.

According to the U.S. Office of Minority Health, in 2007, just 49% of African Americans, in comparison to 66% of whites, had access to employer-sponsored health insurance. Also in 2007, 24% of African Americans, compared to 9% of whites, relied on public health insurance. And, 19% of African Americans, in comparison to 10% of whites, were uninsured.

The Colorado Center on Law and Policy, a nonprofit, nonpartisan research and advocacy organization, outlines the following immediate benefits of health reform, to take affect in 2010:

  • Phased elimination of the Medicare "donut hole"
  • New insurance plans that will not be able to impose pre-existing condition exclusions on children
  • No more annual limits for health coverage
  • Young adults up to age 26 can be covered under their parent's plan
  • Health plans will not be able to drop coverage when people get sick.

Also, according to the Colorado Center on Law and Policy, by 2019, 95% of non-elderly legal residents will have health insurance coverage; that's 32 million more people than today. Low- and middle-income people making up to $88,000 a year for a family of four will have access to premium credits to purchase health coverage. An estimated 60% of America's businesses will qualify for a tax credit to purchase insurance and all small businesses not currently offering coverage will have access to group purchasing through state-based exchanges. States will receive substantial help to expand Medicaid for low-income eople, with the federal government paying for 100% of the initial expansion, and 90% from 2020 on.

On July 1, the Dept. of Health & Human Services launched its new web site for the Affordable Care Act, available at www.healthcare.gov.  On this site, consumers can learn about their health care options based on the following situations: families with children, individuals, people with disabilities, seniors, young adults, and employers. This is an informative and easy-to-use web site.

To read more about the health reform law, follow this link to The Kaiser Family Foundation's comprehensive summary of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

And, new from Medicare, read this brochure that outlines key provisions of the Affordable Care Act for people with Medicare as well as family members. Click here to read "Medicare and the New Health Law--What it Means for You."

And keep watching the Center for African-American Health's web site to learn more about how you will be affected by health care reform.

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