Closing the Racial and Ethnic Health Gap

 

 
 
Closing the Racial and Ethnic Health Gap 
 
Goals are set to reduce the health disparities
among racial and ethnic minorities.
 
 
(NewsUSA) - Raising awareness of the health disparities that continue to affect racial and ethnic 
minorities, as well as promoting the health care law's focus on preventive services, are two 
important goals of the Health and Human Services Department. Here's a look at what's being done to 
reduce health disparities among racial and ethnic minorities, including increasing access to 
preventive services and health insurance.
 
Focusing on Prevention
 
Did you know that 41 percent of African Americans have high blood pressure, 
compared to only 22 percent of non-Hispanic white Americans? Did you also know that African 
Americans are at a higher risk for prostate cancer and glaucoma? These are just a couple of 
examples of why increased awareness and access to preventive services are important factors in 
reducing health disparities.
 
The health care law expands coverage of preventive services. For example, all 
people with Medicare can get a free annual wellness visit with their doctor. The law also removes 
copayments and deductibles for recommended preventive services, such as mammograms, other cancer 
screenings, flu shots and cholesterol screenings. Costs of these services in the past posed a 
significant barrier to many in minority communities.

Expanding Access to Health Insurance

Lack of insurance is a significant driver of health care disparities. Thanks to the 
health care law, more than 1.2 million Hispanics, African Americans, Asian Americans and American 
Indian/Alaska natives have already gained health insurance coverage. This is because young adults 
without employer-provided insurance can now stay on their parents' plans until age 
26.

Starting in 2014, Health Insurance Exchanges will make buying health coverage easier and 
more affordable. These new Exchanges will offer one-stop shopping so individuals can compare 
prices, benefits and health plan performance on easy-to-use Web sites. The Exchanges will guarantee 
that all Americans -- including minority populations -- have a choice for quality, affordable 
health insurance, even if they lose a job, change jobs, move or become ill.

The gap in health outcomes will not change overnight. But with expanded access to health 
insurance, more covered preventive services -- many at no cost -- will help reduce health 
disparities and strive for health equity.
 
To learn more, visit www.healthcare.gov.
 
 
Courtesy of:
 The Department of Health and Human Services.

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