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What health reform means for the people of Illinois

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Thursday, August 1, 2013

Special Report: Impact of ACA on Uninsured Asians in Illinois

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) will greatly improve the health of Americans by offering newly available coverage to the uninsured without pre-existing health condition exclusions, improving physical and mental health, and reducing the financial burden associated with healthcare. The Asian Health Coalition (AHC) and Health & Disability Advocates (HDA) jointly present this Special Issue Brief predicting that 75,000 currently uninsured Asians in Illinois will be eligible for coverage in 2014 through the Medicaid expansion signed into law last week (SB 26) and the health insurance marketplace (formerly known as the “Exchange”).

Working with datasets from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey and Public Use Microdata Area (PUMA), key findings show:
  • Of the nearly 600,000 Asian Americans in Illinois, more than 80% live in just 4 counties comprising Cook, DuPage, Kane and Lake.
  • There is more than a 40% rate of limited English-proficiency in many Asian subgroups (Chinese, Korean, Laotian, Pakistani).
  • More than 92,000 Asian Americans in Illinois are presently without health insurance.
  • 75,000 individuals (or more than 80% of the uninsured Asians) are expected to be eligible for coverage in 2014 with one-third of those obtaining coverage through the Medicaid expansion and the remaining two-thirds through the new health insurance marketplace.

Insurance Coverage by Asian Subgroup
“Health insurance makes a big difference in access to necessary medical care, financial security, and ultimately health outcomes for vulnerable populations,” said Stephanie Altman, Programs & Policy Director at HDA. "The uninsured receive less preventive care and recommended screenings than those with health insurance, and therefore may forego needed care or prescriptions due to cost,” she added.

“Open enrollment is just 60 days away and outreach and enrollment efforts targeted to communities of color are more important than ever if we are to maximize enrollment into new health coverage options”, said Edwin Chandrasekar, AHC’s Executive Director. “The Illinois Department of Public Health has awarded $27 million to community-based organizations through the In-Person Counselor Grant Program and this is a positive step in the right direction to tailoring outreach and education strategies to meet the diverse racial and ethnic Asian American subgroup needs.”

For more information about this brief, please contact the Asian Health Coalition at (312) 372-7070 or info@asianhealth.org.

Edwin Chandrasekar
Asian Health Coalition


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