Affordable Care Act (Healthcare Reform) and Multicultural Populations cont.

Dec 27, 12 Affordable Care Act (Healthcare Reform) and Multicultural Populations cont.

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We continue our 12 part blog series on the Affordable Care Act and Multicultural Populations.   Introduction to Small Group Health Care – Part 7 By Martha C. Rivera, Director, Strategy and Insights, and Alejandro Ramos-Martinez, Junior Executive Across America, small businesses are the cornerstone of state and local economies. They employ millions of workers; create more than half of our private, non-farm gross domestic product; drive innovation; and contribute to our communities in large cities, suburban settings, and rural towns. Despite these strengths, small businesses often operate with thin profit margins and, partly as a result, are less likely than big businesses to be able to offer health coverage to their workers. Multicultural populations own an important part of the U.S. small businesses, with Latinos representing the fastest growing group. In 2010, the Census Bureau reported that Hispanic-owned small businesses had arrived to a milestone number of 2.3 million across the U.S., representing an increase of 44% from 2002 to 2007, while the overall growth rate was 18% in the same time period. To address the challenges of small businesses on offering health insurance to their workers, Congress included, in the Affordable Care Act, a significant new tax credit for small business owners who provide their workers with health insurance. Under this new tax credit, businesses that have fewer than 50 workers and average wages of less than $50,000 are now eligible to receive a tax credit of up to 35 percent of the cost of the health insurance that they provide for their workers. To qualify for the tax credit, small businesses must cover at least 50 percent of each employee’s health insurance premiums. In 2014, the size of the credit will increase to cover up to 50 percent of the cost of health insurance provided to workers Look for Part 8 of ourAffordable Care Act and Multicultural Populations in a future blog. Source: http://www.familiesusa.org/resources/publications/reports/health-reform/small-business-health-            care-tax-credits.html...

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Affordable Care Act (Healthcare Reform) and Multicultural Populations cont.

Dec 20, 12 Affordable Care Act (Healthcare Reform) and Multicultural Populations cont.

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We continue our 12 part blog series on the Affordable Care Act and Multicultural Populations.   What’s happening with health insurance? Key Changes – Part 6 By Martha C. Rivera, Director, Strategy and Insights, and Monica Martens, Junior Executive When looking towards the future Americans should be informed about some of the key changes to our health care system. Since 2010, local, state and federal officials have been working to help implement the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Prior to the Act, millions of Americans remained uninsured but now under the ACA uninsured individuals will have to pay a penalty. Individuals and small groups will have to enroll in health insurance plans through their State Exchanges, or be covered by an employer or under Medicaid. The ACA aims to increase the number of individuals insured by expanding private and public health insurance through competitive prices and accessibility. One of the key features of the Act is the creation of state-based online marketplaces called Exchanges. Through the Exchange, individuals and small groups will have a variety of choices in deciding the amount of coverage, the cost and the provider and will be able to purchase their insurance online with the support of call centers and/or chat assistance. Health insurance companies will have to market to their customers in order to create brand loyalty in the Exchange. Through various marketing techniques providers have already started to get the word out on staying healthy while at the same time creating brand loyalty. How effective those marketing strategies are going to be among Hispanics is yet to be established. Over 57% of Hispanics report that the health information they obtained from the media led them to visit a health care professional. Look for Part 7 of our Affordable Care Act and Multicultural Populations in a future blog. Sources: Key Features of the Affordable Care Act. HealthCare.gov,...

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Affordable Care Act (Healthcare Reform) and Multicultural Populations cont.

Dec 18, 12 Affordable Care Act (Healthcare Reform) and Multicultural Populations cont.

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We continue our 12 part blog series on the Affordable Care Act and Multicultural Populations.    Understanding Basic Health Programs – Part 5 By Martha C. Rivera, Director, Strategy and Insights, and Monica Martens, Junior Executive Somewhere in between Medicaid and individual health coverage falls the state-established Basic Health Programs. A Basic Health Program (BHP) is for individuals whose income falls between 138-200% federal poverty level (FPL). The program exists in only some states but every state has the option to use federal funding to create a BHP. The purpose for its creation is for those individuals who are ineligible for Medicaid, but still too poor, to pay for insurance through an Exchange. They will also help maintain continuity for those whose income fluctuates above and below Medicaid, with hopes of continuity for the 42% of the Latinos who lack a usual health care provider. BHPs will also help increase the number of low-income individuals insured within a state.  It will also help bridge the gap between Medicaid and Exchange and help ease the transition between the two. However, critics have their complaints. BHPs will reduce the size of individuals within an Exchange by nearly 1/3. This, critics believe, will weaken purchasing power and decrease the financial base. Look for Part 6 of our Affordable Care Act and Multicultural Populations in a future blog. Sources: The Role of the Basic Health Program in the Coverage Continuum. The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation,...

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Affordable Care Act (Healthcare Reform) and Multicultural Populations cont.

Dec 13, 12 Affordable Care Act (Healthcare Reform) and Multicultural Populations cont.

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We continue our 12 part blog series on the Affordable Care Act and Multicultural Populations.    What is an Exchange under the ACA- Part 4 By Martha C. Rivera, Director, Strategy and Insights, and Monica Martens, Junior Executive As mentioned in earlier posts, qualified individuals will be able to buy their health insurance through an Exchange.  An Exchange is an online insurance marketplace that will be the vehicle for enrollment on health care plans. Each state in the union had the option to apply for grants and create their own Exchange and if states refused the federal government created one for their state. Some states with the highest Hispanic populations, such as Florida and Texas, have already informed the Obama Administration of their refusal to create an Exchange. Through these online marketplaces, you will be able to research and compare various health insurance plans based on your needs and wants. After various questions regarding your health and family history, the Exchange will be able to narrow down the best options available. The Exchanges will be informative and standardized in order to make it easier for you to compare plans. They will have 1-800 phone numbers and live chats to help answer any questions you may have. Moreover, you will be able to see if you qualify for any additional government incentives or tax credits. There will be a variety of choices from the type of plan, to the provider and the cost. Some states, such as California and Washington, have already created and launched their Exchanges for their residents. Look for Part 5 of our Affordable Care Act and Multicultural Populations in a future blog. Sources: Affordable Insurance Exchange. HealthCare.gov, 2012....

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Affordable Care Act (Healthcare Reform) and Multicultural Populations cont.

Dec 11, 12 Affordable Care Act (Healthcare Reform) and Multicultural Populations cont.

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We continue our 12 part blog series on the Affordable Care Act and Multicultural Populations.    Can I buy my own health insurance? – Part 3 By Martha C. Rivera, Director, Strategy and Insights, and Monica Martens, Junior Executive In today’s day age we are bombarded with information from celebrities to politics. However, sometimes the most important information gets lost somewhere in between. As many Americans know, beginning in 2014 individuals will be required to maintain minimum essential coverage or pay a penalty, that in practice is to be executed in 2016. What does this mean for you? And does this apply to you? These are questions we should all be asking ourselves. If your employer provides you with a health care plan your insurance benefits will not change.  However, only 38% of Hispanics receive employer-based health insurance compared to 62% of Non-Hispanic Whites. If your employer does not provide you with health insurance then you are eligible to purchase insurance through an Exchange. Does your income fall between 138% over the federal poverty level (FPL) and less than 400% over the FPL? Then you are considered a subsidized individual and are eligible to purchase insurance through an Exchange. If your income is over 400% FPL then you are considered an unsubsidized individual and, if qualified, have access to an Exchange.  Other ways to see if you qualify is if your employer’s health insurance plan premium exceeds more than 8% of your family income. Then you are also eligible to purchase a different insurance plan through an Exchange or stay with the one you have. If your employer’s plan covers less than 60% of the health expenses then you are also eligible to purchase insurance through an Exchange. Income: Between 138%-400% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) = Subsidized Individual, eligible to an Exchange >400% of the FPL = Unsubsidized individual, if qualified access to an Exchange Employer’s Plan: Premium > 8% of income = eligible to purchase a different plan through an Exchange...

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