Pakistani Americans to Benefit from the Affordable Care Act
By Dilawar Syed
More than 22 percent of Pakistani Americans do not have health insurance, a rate much higher than the national average.
That’s why the Affordable Care Act is so important to the Pakistani American community. It will help those without health insurance get affordable coverage and provides new benefits and protections for millions of Americans, including Pakistani Americans.
Because of the Affordable Care Act, we no longer have to pay out-of-pocket costs for certain preventive services, such as screenings or flu shots. And we can no longer be discriminated against by an insurance company if we have a pre-existing condition, such as asthma or diabetes.
The good news is that more than 4 million Americans have already enrolled in health coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace. There is no doubt that the Health Insurance Marketplace is working well. Millions of consumers, including thousands of Pakistani Americans, many for the very first time, are now enjoying the peace of mind that comes with new health coverage.
One South Asian woman benefitted immediately when she enrolled in health insurance through the Health Insurance Marketplace. Ms. Khan* was experiencing pain in her upper extremities, especially on her left arm. She was so worried since the pain was close to her heart and lasted for several days, but she was afraid to see a doctor because she did not qualify for health insurance. She had immigrated to the U.S. six years ago and earned too much for Medicaid and too little to pay for insurance herself. She was thinking of returning to Pakistan to get care until she visited a local Consumer Assistance Counselor who could provide her in-person and enrollment assistance in her native language free of charge. In her enrollment session she was informed that she now qualified for Medicaid because of the Affordable Care Act. She was so grateful that she would finally be able to see a doctor that she burst into tears.
HealthCare.gov is working smoothly, so visit the website to sign up for affordable healthcare. Across the country, six out of 10 uninsured Americans can get covered for $100 per month or even less.
If you or someone you care about is uninsured, it’s not too late to sign up for quality, affordable coverage – but you’ll want to act today and before March 31. If you don’t enroll by March 31, you can’t enroll again until November 2014.
Sign up today online at HealthCare.gov ; over the phone with help available in 150 languages at the 24/7 call center at 1-800-318-2596; or directly through an issuer, agent, or broker. You can also find in-person assistance in your community at localhelp.healthcare.gov .
*Name changed by request. Statistics and consumer stories provided by the Asian Pacific Islander American Health Forum.
(Dilawar Syed is a member of the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders)