By Teresa Wiltz
Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, the percentage of people of color who do not have health insurance is projected to fall dramatically by 2016, greatly narrowing the historic disparities in coverage between whites and nonwhites.
Many low-income African-Americans are caught in a “coverage gap”: They make too much to qualify for Medicaid, but not enough to qualify for subsidized insurance an exchanges.
Fifty-five percent of all African-Americans reside in the 23 states that have not expanded Medicaid eligibility under the ACA. By comparison, 42 percent of whites, 38 percent of Latinos and 23 percent of Asians live in nonexpansion states, according to the Urban Institute.
In those nonexpansion states, a disproportionate number of blacks don’t qualify for the narrower Medicaid program in place now. Medicaid typically covers pregnant women, young children, and disabled and elderly adults.
Relatively few able-bodied adults with children qualify in those states, and only at incomes well below the federal poverty level. (Childless adults do not qualify.)