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P1136 Women and Heart Disease

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act You’ve probably read or heard about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which President Obama signed into law in 2010. The law will have a major impact on how we get insurance and receive care. Insurance companies will be required to offer the same level of care without regard to gender or preexisting conditions (i.e., health conditions you have before you got the insurance policy). The law also establishes minimum standards for coverage, and bans annual and lifetime caps on benefits. For the first time, individuals and businesses will be able to buy health insurance through state exchanges, where health insurers will compete state by state for your business. Many low-income individuals and families who buy insurance through the exchanges will be eligible for subsidies (on a sliding scale) to help them cover the cost. Medicaid will be expanded to cover more people, as well. The act will be phased in over the years leading up to 2020, when the last of its provisions goes into effect. The ultimate goal of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is to help more people get the health insurance they need, without adding to the costs they must bear. For more information about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, visit www.healthcare.gov/law/index.html. Health disparities among Hispanics and African Americans Hispanics have a slightly higher risk for heart disease than Caucasians, and are less aware of their cardiovascular risk factors. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, language and cultural barriers, lack of access to prevention care, and lack of health insurance may lead to poorer health among Hispanics. Compared with Caucasian women, Hispanic women are three times as likely to be uninsured. African Americans not only are at higher risk for hypertension, but they also get it at a younger age, and suffer more of the complications. And the problem is not confined to adults: Studies have shown that overweight African-American preteens, especially girls, may develop hypertension. Among African-American women 20 years old and older, heart disease is the leading cause of death. In those over age 18, the rate of coronary heart disease is directly related to education, income and poverty status. 49


P1136 Women and Heart Disease
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