WASHINGTON, Sept. 19, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Health care costs now account for 17 percent of the economy and are rising with people living longer with greater rates of obesity, heart disease and other chronic diseases and complications. In order to decrease costs and to create a more quality and efficient healthcare delivery system, President Obama and Congress established the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2010 with sweeping insurance changes like keeping children on family health insurance till age 26 and deleting pre-existing disease barriers to health insurance, and prevention services so younger generation will have healthier lives. The ACA calls for the nationwide start of enrollment for health insurance on October 1, 2013 – two weeks away.
The National Hispanic Medical Association (NHMA), a nonprofit organization based in Washington, DC, is convening six Forums with the White House and Health Insurance Marketplace leaders to inform the Hispanic community and others about enrollment procedures for ACA law's new healthcare insurance products they can select during open enrollment season October 1, 2013 until March 31, 2014.
"We are excited to start the 'Covered Hispanics Campaign' to bring experts to our communities to explain how to prepare now so that they can select new options for affordable health insurance and healthcare services through Health Marketplaces starting Oct. 1," states Dr. Elena Rios, President & CEO, NHMA, "especially, because Hispanics suffer 2-3 times more than the average U.S. population from diabetes, high blood pressure, and cancers and need insurance to help cover healthcare costs."
NHMA Forums will take place 6-8 pm, on Sept. 21 at JW Marriott LA Live, Los Angeles, Sept. 26, New York Academy of Medicine, NYC, Sept. 28, Westin Hotel Riverwalk, San Antonio, Oct. 11, Emory Conference Inn Hotel, Atlanta, and Oct. 12 in Chicago. The Forums in LA and NYC are being sponsored by Anthem Wellpoint and Empire BlueCross BlueShield. RSVP at www.nhmamd.org.
Individuals, families and small businesses will have new health insurance options from various companies through the ACA Marketplaces to be found on October 1st at www.healthcare.gov or by calling (800) 318-2596 or at public health agencies and organizations in your local community.
Marketplace health insurance will include essential benefits, varied monthly prices and annual deductibles, income tax credits for those who qualify, and a simple three page application. Essential benefits include hospital and outpatient care, behavioral and substance abuse care, preventive services, medications, women's healthcare, children's dental care, home care, immunizations and more. Individuals and families with up to annual incomes less than 400 percent of the Federal poverty level ($47,000 for individual or $96,000 for a family of four) will qualify for income tax credits. Small businesses with less than 50 employees with average of $50,000 salaries will also qualify for income tax credits.
The ACA is the most transformative healthcare law since Medicare was established in 1965. The law mandates all with few exceptions, must purchase healthcare insurance in 2014 or pay income tax penalty of less than $100. The ACA will provide prevention services for individuals without copayments, intensive overweight counseling, and new community transformation programs to decrease obesity and increase healthy lifestyle by changing built environment to include fresh fruit and vegetables, community gardens, bike and pedestrian paths, safe parks, and joint use of schools for families after school.
Another major focus of the ACA is to increase healthcare jobs. NHMA is funded by the US Department of Health and Human Services to recruit premedical students in college and high school to medical school with the Association of American Medical Colleges at Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science on Sept. 21st and at the University of Texas Health Science Center on Sept. 28th from 10:00 am – 3:00 pm. In addition, GE Foundation is sponsoring the GE-NHMA Health Professional Student Leadership and Mentoring Program will occur at the forums to encourage 50 Hispanic medical and public health students to work in the Hispanic community.
Established in 1994, the NHMA is a nonprofit association representing 45000 Hispanic physicians in the US committed to improving the health of Hispanics/Latinos and other underserved. For more information see www.nhmamd.org.
SOURCE National Hispanic Medical Association