About six out of 10 uninsured African Americans may be eligible for Medicaid, the Children's Health Insurance Program or tax credits when they buy coverage through the new health insurance marketplace, according to a new report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
If all the states expanded Medicaid, the federal and state program that provides free health insurance for low-income families, then 95 percent of uninsured African Americans might qualify for lower costs on coverage, the report said.
"The health care law is working to address long standing disparities in health care coverage and improve the health of the African American community," Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius said in a press statement. "Through the health insurance marketplace, 6.8 million uninsured African Americans have new options for affordable health coverage that covers a range of benefits, including important preventive services with no out-of-pocket costs."
The report also provides examples of what premiums might look like for African Americans living in major metropolitan areas. A 27-year-old in Atlanta with an income of $25,000 can pay $105 a month for a bronze plan after applying the tax credit, while a family of four with an income of $50,000 could pay $148 a month for a bronze plan after applying the tax credit, the department said.
Under the health care reform law, states can expand Medicaid coverage to include Americans with family incomes at or below 133 percent of the federal poverty level (generally $31,322 for a family of four in 2013). The expansion includes adults without dependent children living at home, who previously were not eligible in most states.
Nationwide about 2 million uninsured African Americans may be eligible for coverage through Medicaid or the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
An additional 2.2 million eligible uninsured African American adults with family incomes below 100 percent of the federal poverty level live in states that are not expanding Medicaid. The number of uninsured African Americans who may be eligible for access to health coverage at a lower cost would increase from 60 to 95 percent if all states adopted the Medicaid expansion.