Diabetes is a harmful disease that, unfortunately, affects the Latino community at disproportionately higher rates than other groups. But, it is also a highly preventable disease that can be mitigated with education, and adequate health care, which the Affordable Care Act aims to do. November is National Diabetes Awareness Month and in recognition of it, we’re highlighting how the new health care law, the Affordable Care Act (ACA), will help reduce diabetes rates for all Americans.
At 13 percent, Latinos have one of the highest rates of diabetes. With the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, however, Latinos living with diabetes will have more opportunities to get insured, live healthier, and more easily maintain their disease.
Here are five ways the ACA will benefits Latinos with diabetes:
1. Latinos With Diabetes Cannot Be Denied Insurance
Denying insurance or charging higher rates because of pre-existing conditions, like diabetes, is no longer allowed, thanks to the Affordable Care Act. This is welcome news for the 13 percent of Latinos 20 and older with diagnosed diabetes. Our children will especially benefit from this provision. Between 2002-2005, 15 percent of Latino children under 10 were reported with either Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes. For Latino children between ages 10-19, that figure jumps to 25 percent.
2. College Graduates with Diabetes Can Stay on Their Parents Plan
Young adults with diabetes can now stay on their parent’s insurance plans until they turn 26 with few exceptions. The new health care law will provide coverage for the 34.9 percent of our adolescents who are currently uninsured.
3. Latinos on Medicare Will Receive Free Annual Wellness Visits
The Affordable Care Act will make it easier for elderly Latinos to identify diabetes-related health risks with wellness visits and tailored prevention plans. For many seniors, the new law has already helped by closing the “donut hole” for prescriptions. Since 2011, the ACA has implemented a 50 percent discount on brand name drugs, including insulin, which previously had to be purchased out-of-pocket. By 2012, that discount will increase to 75 percent.
4. Low-income Latinos Will Benefit from Medicaid Expansion
Thanks to the ACA, in 2014 Latino children and families with incomes up to 133 percent of the poverty level will be eligible for insurance through Medicaid, which can help provide care to low-income individuals who are disproportionately impacted by diabetes.
5. New National Program to Help Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
Prevention. Prevention. Prevention. The Affordable Care Act established the
National Diabetes Prevention Program to help community-based programs that prevent type 2 diabetes maximize their reach. It also created the Prevention and Public Health Fund to make many wellness and preventative services available for free. Prevention programs will be instrumental to reducing down from 13 percent the rate of Latinos with diabetes.
Go to www.healthcare.gov to find a plan that helps you reap all of these benefits.