Healthcare coverage assured

Asian-Americans benefit from Obamacare. Photo by U.S. Census Bureau

By Bert Eljera

LAS VEGAS – In two years, Nevadans with pre-existing conditions will be assured with healthcare coverage, thanks to the Affordable Care Act recently upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court.

With Obamacare upheld, about 2.3 million Nevadans could not be denied health insurance because they have been diagnosed with diabetes, high blood pressure, heart condition or other ailments.

In a recent report, Families USA, a consumer health group, said when the law begins in January 2014, these people may not be denied coverage, charged a higher premium or be excluded from important health services.

Among those who will benefit are 527,000 non-elderly Nevada residents, including 371,000 living in Las Vegas and Clark County.

About 179,000 Asians, Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders are affected statewide as 1 in 10, or about 11.5 percent, have been diagnosed with a pre-existing condition.

Among non-elderly adults, 21,000 Asian Pacific Americans have been diagnosed with a health problem, or about 4 percent of all Nevadans with a pre-existing conditions.

Ron Pollack, executive director of Families USA, said the new law will give people some peace of mind and security.

“They can no longer be denied coverage by an insurance company just because their doctor diagnosed a health problem” he said in a statement.

The report detailed the impact of the Affordable Care Act on those diagnosed with a pre-existing condition based on 2009 records, the latest information available.

It was also based on age, income and race. It found that all races and income levels were affected, but age played a major role. Older age groups tend to have more health issues than the younger groups.

Adults aged 45 to 64 make up nearly half (48 percent) of those diagnosed with pre-existing condition, while those 18-to-34-year olds make up just 24 percent.

According to the latest census data, Asian-Americans are relatively young and well-off. The median age is 36.8 and the median household income is $68,780.

But the community is so diverse – from high-income Indian and Chinese business owners and professionals to Hmongs, Cambodians and Laotians mired in poverty.

The poverty rate is 12.5 percent and about 17.2 percent have no health insurance.

“The model minority label is a myth,” said Rozita Lee, a leader in the Las Vegas Filipino-American community. “We have deeper issues in our very diverse community.”


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