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For Latinos, health insurance subsidy eligibility can hinge on accurate tax history

September 23, 2013 by  

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The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is the single biggest change to the federal tax code in more than 20 years. An accurate tax history can be key to determining eligibility for health care benefits. Therefore it’s critical to individuals to learn about the Affordable Care Act and how it may affect them, their families and their tax situation.

To help educate Latinos about the U.S. tax system, Hispanic Access Foundation (HAF), in partnership with H&R Block, the world’s largest consumer tax services provider, is expanding its free tax workshops program to 17 markets across the nation.

“Prepárate Para Un Futuro Mejor” (Prepare Yourself for a Better Future) includes more than 100 workshops and emphasizes the importance of one’s taxes, understanding residency and dependents requirements and how to protect against fraud. The program will include information on the tax implications of the Affordable Care Act.

“Hispanics have the highest uninsured rates of any racial or ethnic group in the country,” said Maite Arce, president of HAF. “The first step for everyone is to make sure your taxes are in order. For Hispanics, though, we need to provide accurate information and access to bilingual tax experts in order to fully integrate them into the tax system.”

Starting in 2014, many people who do not have health insurance may be able to receive a subsidy based on their household income and family size to help with the cost. Eligibility for assistance can be determined from an individual’s tax return, which can also streamline the insurance plan enrollment process with a health insurance exchange. With the individual mandate requiring nearly everyone to have health insurance in 2014, a key component of the Affordable Care Act is the health insurance exchange — a marketplace where consumers can shop for a health insurance plan.

“Since the project’s launch in 2010, we have helped tens of thousands of Latinos with tax issues, and now they are even more vigilant about building an accurate tax history,” said Arce. “For many, it’s never been a question of not wanting to pay taxes, but rather a lack of understanding and fear of the process.”

A complete list of workshop dates and locations is available at www.pormifuturo.org. For more information about HAF visit www.hispanicaccess.org.

 

About H&R Block
H&R Block, Inc. (NYSE: HRB) is the world’s largest consumer tax services provider.  More than 600 million tax returns have been prepared worldwide by and through H&R Block since 1955.  In fiscal 2013, H&R Block had annual revenues of $2.9 billion with 25.4 million tax returns prepared worldwide. Tax return preparation services are provided in company-owned and franchise retail tax offices by over 80,000 professional tax preparers, and through H&R Block At Home™ digital products. H&R Block Bank provides affordable banking products and services. For more information, visit the H&R Block Newsroom.

 

Taxes key for Hispanics on health care, immigration future

May 28, 2013 by  

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WASHINGTON, March 28, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The 2012 tax return will have major impact for Hispanics, as it can be used in determining eligibility for the Affordable Care Act and immigration reforms will likely require individuals to pay any unpaid taxes. An ongoing project from the Hispanic Access Foundation (HAF), in partnership with H&R Block, the world’s largest consumer tax services provider, is seeking to educate Hispanics about the U.S. tax system and prepare them for upcoming changes.

“Prepárate Para Un Futuro Mejor” (Prepare Yourself for a Better Future) includes more than 150 free “Tax Talk” seminars across the nation. It emphasizes the importance of building an accurate tax history, provides tools to protect against fraud and misinformation in the tax preparation process, and outlines how to meet the demands of the Affordable Care Act and potential immigration rule changes.

“Hispanics need to have their taxes in order so they don’t miss out on potential benefits,” said Maite Arce, president of HAF. “Since the project’s launch in 2010, we have helped tens of thousands of Hispanics with tax issues, and now they are even more vigilant about building an accurate tax history.”

Starting in 2014, many people who do not have health insurance may be able to receive a subsidy based on their household income and family size to help with the cost. Eligibility for assistance can be determined from an individual’s 2012 tax return, which can also streamline the insurance plan enrollment process with a health insurance exchange. With the individual mandate requiring nearly everyone to have health insurance in 2014, a key component of Affordable Care Act is the health insurance exchange— a marketplace where consumers can shop for a health insurance plan.

As for immigration reform, it is expected that both political parties will support a reconciliation of unpaid taxes as a prerequisite on the path to legal residency or citizenship. While plan details are still being discussed, it will likely require individuals to submit tax documentation for multiple years – an individual will need to provide an accurate tax history as part of the application process.

“With the rapid expansion of the Latino population, it is essential to provide accurate information and access to bilingual tax experts in order to fully integrate Latinos into the tax system,” said Arce. “Our community wants to contribute our fair share. With a better understanding of the process, we can strengthen our families, communities and nation.”

The free “Tax Talk” seminars are scheduled in multiple cities across the country. A complete list of dates and locations is available at www.pormifuturo.org. For more information about HAF visit www.hispanicaccess.org.

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2013/03/28/5299568/taxes-key-for-hispanics-on-health.html#storylink=cpy

Racial and Ethnic Disparities in US Cancer Screening Rates, study finds

February 28, 2013 by  

Screening rates lower among Hispanic and Asian Americans.  

The percentage of U.S. citizens screened for cancer remains below national targets, with significant disparities among racial and ethnic populations, according to the first federal study to identify cancer screening disparities among Asian and Hispanic groups. The report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the National Institutes of Health, was published Jan. 26 in the CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

In 2010, breast cancer screening rates were 72.4 percent, below the Healthy People 2020 target of 81 percent; cervical cancer screening was 83 percent, below the target of 93 percent; and colorectal cancer screening was 58.6 percent, below the target of 70.5 percent, according to the study, “Cancer Screening in the United States – 2010.”

Hispanics were less likely to be screened for cervical and colorectal cancer (78.7 percent and 46.5 percent, respectively) when compared to non-Hispanics (83.8 percent and 59.9 percent, respectively).

“It is troubling to see that not all Americans are getting the recommended cancer screenings and that disparities continue to persist for certain populations. Screening can find breast, cervical, and colorectal cancers at an early stage when treatment is more effective,” said Sallyann Coleman King, M.D., an epidemic intelligence service officer in CDC’s Division of Cancer Prevention and Control and lead author of the study. “We must continue to monitor cancer screening rates to improve the health of all Americans.”

 

Some guidelines:

  • Women aged 50-74 years should be screened for breast cancer with a mammogram every two years.
  • Women who have been sexually active for three years or are aged 21-65 years should be screened for cervical cancer with a Pap test at least every three years.
  • Colorectal cancer screening is recommended for average-risk men and women aged 50-75 years, using high-sensitivity fecal occult blood test (FOBT), done at home every year; sigmoidoscopy every five years, with high-sensitivity FOBT every three years; or colonoscopy every 10 years.

 

To assess the use of currently recommended cancer screening tests by age, race, ethnicity, education, length of residence in the United States, and the source and financing of health care researchers analyzed data from the 2010 National Health Interview Survey, which tracks progress toward the achievement of  Healthy People 2020 objectives.  For the ethnic subgroups, Asians were classified as Chinese, Filipino, or other Asian and Hispanics as Puerto Rican, Mexican, Mexican-American, Central or South American, or other Hispanic.

Significant findings include:

  • Screening rates for breast cancer remained relatively stable and varied no more than 3 percent over the period 2000-2010.
  • From 2000-2010, colorectal cancer screening rates increased markedly for men and women, with the rate for women increasing slightly faster so that rates among both sexes were nearly identical (58.5 percent for men and 58.8 percent for women) in 2010.
  • From 2000-2010, a small but statistically significant downward trend of 3.3 percent was observed in the rate of women who reported getting a Pap test within the last three years.
  • Considerably lower breast, cervical, and colorectal cancer screening use was reported by those without any usual source of health care or health insurance.

 

The authors note that this study reinforces the need to identify and track cancer screening disparities. Additionally, the report provides guidance for the development programs to increase the use of screening tests in order to meet Healthy People 2020 targets and simultaneously reduce cancer morbidity and mortality.

Hispanics were 13.4% less likely to receive colorectal cancer screenings & 5.1% less likely to receive breast cancer screenings than non-Hispanics.

“Healthy People objectives are important for monitoring progress toward reducing the burden of cancer in the United States. Our study points to the particular need for finding ways to increase the use of breast, cervical, and colorectal cancer screening tests among Asians, Hispanics, as well as adults who lack health insurance or a usual source of health care,” said Carrie Klabunde, Ph.D., an epidemiologist inNCI’s Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences and a co-author of the study.

According to the authors, the Affordable Care Act is expected to reduce financial barriers to care by expanding insurance coverage. Other efforts are needed such as developing systems that identify individuals eligible for cancer screening tests, actively encouraging the use of screening tests, and monitoring participation to improve screening rates, they say.

 

Center for Disease Control

Through the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program, CDC provides low-income, uninsured, and underinsured women access to timely breast and cervical cancer screening and diagnostic services in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, five U.S. territories, and 12 American Indian/Alaska Native tribes or tribal organizations. The CDCs Colorectal Cancer Control Program funds 25 states and four tribal organizations to implement population-based approaches to increase screening among men and women aged 50 years and older. Population-based approaches include policy and health systems change, outreach, case management, and selective provision of screening services. For information about CDC efforts to prevent cancer, visit www.cdc.gov/cancer

 

National Cancer Institute

NCI leads the National Cancer Program and NIH’s effort to dramatically reduce the burden of cancer and improve the lives of cancer patients and their families, through research into prevention and cancer biology, the development of new interventions, and the training and mentoring of new researchers. For more information about cancer, visit www.cancer.gov or call NCI’s Cancer Information Service at 1-800-4-CANCER (1-800-422-6237).

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U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES

“CDC works 24/7 saving lives, protecting people from health threats, and saving money through prevention. Whether these threats are global or domestic, chronic or acute, curable or preventable, natural disaster or deliberate attack, CDC is the nation’s health protection agency.”

For the original CDC press release, click here.

 

The Hispanic Access Foundation is committed to helping Hispanic Americans live better, healthier lives. We provide a searchable online database of healthcare services for Hispanics in communities across the nation. Search our database for healthcare services near you.

Latinas — The Main Victims of Cervical Cancer in California

February 3, 2012 by  

For more than six years, Lilia Fuentes did not get a Pap test. Lilia, whose name has been changed, didn’t think it was necessary since she always felt healthy.

Then, at the beginning of 2010, she went to see a doctor after she started to bleed profusely. The test results were devastating: she had advanced cervical cancer. From that moment on, her life took a 180-degree turn.

The independent and hard-working woman who cleaned houses in San Jose, Calif., had to undergo intensive treatment that left her bedridden. To prevent the cancer from spreading, her uterus and ovaries were removed and she started chemotherapy and radiation. She spent entire days in the hospital, completely isolated.

“Neither her sister, nor her two kids — a 22-year-old daughter and a 19-year-old son — could see her,” recalls Claudia Colindres, who works for the non-profit organization Latinas Contra el Cáncer (Latinas Against Cancer), which offers support for those who suffer from the disease, as well as their families. Colindres says that despite doctors’ best efforts, the cancer not only did not diminish it became more aggressive.

“She lost a lot of weight and they decided to refer her to a home care program for terminal patients,” she says. “I visited her and the last time I went, I knew I would never see her again. Her skin was yellow and she looked very skinny, very tired.

Lilia died two weeks later, on July 4, 2011.

The family, according to Colindres, is still so upset they refuse to even talk about Lilia, who was 58 years old at the time of her death, originally from Mexico and a single mother.

“At her funeral, the one who looked the most depressed was her sister, who had never lived apart from her. After Lilia died, the family broke up. Her daughter went to live with a friend and her son stayed with his aunt because he was going to school.”

Colindres says that the family is finding it hard to cope with Lilia’s death. They feel guilty for not pressuring her to get tested on time and take better care of her health.

To make matters worse, Colindres adds, they lost the house that Lilia had bought making many sacrifices because they could no longer make the payments.

In California, nearly 1,400 women are diagnosed with this cancer and 400 of them die each year.

“Lilia’s mom, who lives in Mexico, cries a lot because she can’t see her again and can’t even visit her grave because they cremated her here and her ashes remain here,” she says.

Lilia’s story illustrates the tremendous emotional, social and economic impact the death of a middle-aged woman has on a family from a preventable disease.

“In general, (these women) are the cornerstones of their homes, the ones who give unity and strength to the nuclear family,” says Alejandra Casillas, an internist at the Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program at the University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA).

Although this type of cancer affects all ethnic groups, Latinas are diagnosed with this disease twice as often as Caucasians. They also have the highest mortality rate in California, according to Casillas.
This is because, among other reasons, many Latinas lack health insurance. It is also due to cultural reasons.

“Latinas don’t take charge of their health; they don’t value the importance of staying healthy to support their families,” Casillas observes.

Cervical cancer is the second-most common cancer worldwide and is responsible for 250,000 deaths a year, of which 4,000 are recorded in the United States.

In California, nearly 1,400 women are diagnosed with this cancer and 400 of them die each year. The deaths are needless because cervical cancer is a preventable disease. It can be easily detected through a relatively simple, low-cost test and can be prevented by a vaccine.

The majority of cervical cancer cases is caused by the human papilloma virus or HPV. Each year, millions of women are infected with the virus, but because they do not have any symptoms, they don’t realize that they are at risk of developing cervical cancer.

The California Medical Association (CMA) Foundation has undertaken an intensive educational campaign to reduce the number of victims. Carol Lee, president and CEO of CMA Foundation, notes that “with proven prevention methods, including HPV vaccine, regular Pap tests and greater public awareness, we have a tremendous opportunity to reduce the devastating effects of cervical cancer and completely eliminate this disease.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the highest rate of advanced cervical cancer occurs among Hispanic women between 50 and 79 years of age.
Casillas says that several studies show that in California, Latinas are the least likely to get a Pap test. Ten percent have never had the test in their lives.

Pap tests are available for free for low-income women through the “Every Woman Counts” program, and HPV vaccines are covered by insurance and through the “Vaccines for Children” program.

To see if you qualify for a free cervical cancer test through this program, call 1-800-511-2300, Monday through Friday, 8:30 am to 5 pm. Spanish-speaking operators are available. To see if your children can be vaccinated free of charge, ask your doctor about the Vaccines for Children program. All children eligible for California’s Child Health and Disability Prevention (CHDP) program may also qualify for free or low-cost vaccines.

The 2011 CMAF/Cervical Cancer Reporting Fellowship is sponsored by the California Medical Association Foundation (CMAF), a charitable arm of the California Medical Association, to bridge physicians to their communities to address community health. The journalism fellowship program, administered by New America Media, is designed to raise awareness and provide public health information on cervical cancer to the at-risk Latina population in Los Angeles.

Source: Latinas – The Main Victims of Cervical Cancer in California by Maria Luisa Arredondo, New America Media, Posted: Jan 12, 2012

 

About New America Media

New America Media is the country’s first and largest national collaboration and advocate of 2000 ethnic news organizations. Over 57 million ethnic adults connect to each other, to home countries and to America through 3000+ ethnic media, the fastest growing sector of American journalism.

Founded by the nonprofit Pacific News Service in 1996, NAM is headquartered in California with offices inNew York and Washington D.C., and partnerships with journalism schools to grow local associations of ethnic media.

NAM is dedicated to bringing the voices of the marginalized – ethnic minorities, immigrants, young people, elderly – into the national discourse. The communities of the New America will then be better informed, better connected to one another, and better able to influence policy makers.

Giving Latinas a Chance Against Breast Cancer

October 15, 2011 by  

Posted by Amelie Ramirez on WhiteHouse.org/blog

“I don’t have to worry about breast cancer.”

I hear that a lot from Latina women, unfortunately. They see statistics on how Latinas don’t get breast cancer nearly as often as black or white women.

They need to know: Breast cancer is the No. 1 Latina cancer killer.

Latinas are 20% more likely to die of breast cancer than white women diagnosed at similar ages and stages. Critical cultural beliefs continue to interfere with Latinas’ approach to cancer screening and early detection. Latinas still greatly fear breast cancer and don’t think there’s anything they can do to prevent it, so they put off screening. Latina moms take care of others first. Few Latinas recognize breast cancer often progresses slowly enough to be detected and treated. And even if Latinas are screened, they are more likely to delay/miss follow-up appointments and start treatment later once cancer is confirmed—leading to worse cancer outcomes.

But Latinas also need to know: Breast cancer doesn’t have to kill.

Prevention is the key, and timely screening, diagnosis, treatment, and follow-up care are critical if Latinas are to survive cancer and sustain a good quality of life.

Editors note: Dr. Amelie G. Ramirez is a foremost cancer expert at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, a partner of the Hispanic Access Foundation’s “Juntos Podemos Contra El Cancer” Project, contributing bilingual material used to teach Latinas how to best reduce their cancer risk, obtain needed screening and reduce fear.

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