HSC Study Examines Access-to-Care Disparities between Insured and Uninsured
The disparity in access to health care between "working-age" uninsured ethnic and racial minorities and uninsured whites in the United States "generally [is] almost double" that between insured minorities and whites, according to a study released yesterday by the Center for Studying Health System Change. HSC researchers surveyed about 60,000 individuals in 33,000 families nationwide in 2001 to determine whether they had a regular health care provider and had visited a doctor in the past year. The study found:
- 31.1% of uninsured Latinos and 36% of uninsured African Americans reported that they had a regular health care provider, compared to 51.4% of uninsured whites;
- 66.8% of Latinos with health insurance and 70.8% of African Americans with health insurance reported that they had a regular health care provider, compared to 78.1% of whites;
- 35.7% of uninsured Latinos and 47.1% of uninsured African Americans reported that they had visited a doctor in the past year, compared to 53.3% of uninsured whites; and
- 74.6% of Latinos with health insurance and about 80% of African Americans with health insurance reported that they had visited a doctor in the past year, compared to 82.3% of whites.
According to J. Lee Hargraves, the author of the study, "Health insurance clearly plays a more important role for working-age African Americans and Latinos and their ability to get care than for white Americans." HSC researchers said that uninsured whites have "much greater" access to health care than uninsured minorities in part as a result of their generally higher incomes. In 2001, the study found that more than 50% of uninsured whites had annual incomes of more than 200% of the federal poverty level, or $17,180 for an individual, compared to only 25% of uninsured Latinos and 33% of African Americans (HSC release, 6/19). The study is available online. This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.