Guides Help API Advocates Understand Health Reform Implementation

Kathy Lim Ko, President and Chief Executive Officer, Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum

Currently, more than one in six Asian Americans and one in five Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders are uninsured. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) will provide quality, affordable coverage to countless uninsured and underinsured Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders (AAs and NHPIs). However, the ACA will be implemented in different ways by each state, territory, and U.S.-associated jurisdiction between now and 2014.

To help advocates understand how the law will change their state and federal insurance programs, the Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum (APIAHF) developed guides to health reform implementation for 14 states, including California.

The California guide includes several API-specific facts about the state, including:

  • California is home to one-third of the nation’s Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander population. There are more than 5 million AAs and NHPIs in California, or about 14% of the state’s population.
  • Asian Americans (14%) and Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders (15%) report slightly lower rates of being currently uninsured compared to the California average (16%), but much higher uninsured rates than Whites (9%).

The guides describe the current public and private health insurance rules and requirements in each state, and summarize the actions that the state has taken to implement national health care reform to date. The guides also describe some of the important policy issues that Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander advocates should consider, such as Medicaid expansion, the structure of the Health Benefit Exchange, and immigrant access to coverage. Sample questions direct advocates on how to approach these issues during health care reform implementation to ensure that the promise of quality, affordable care is fully realized.

The guides are available on APIAHF’s Health Care Reform Resource Center.

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