LATINA HEALTH: Women Lack Health Coverage, Unprepared for Future Costs
Hispanic women are the fastest-growing subpopulation in California, but many lack health insurance and are unprepared to handle the medical costs of aging, according to a Latino Health Access survey released today. The group surveyed 108 Latinas ages 45-64, living in the 92701 ZIP code area, and found that two of every three participants had a chronic illness, such as diabetes, and 90% were uninsured. The survey also uncovered a recurrent belief among Latinas that they "didn't need mammograms or pap smears because they were no longer of child-bearing years." Some believe that such misinformation stems from language barriers. Further, some women were unaware that treatment options are available (Godines/Saar, Orange County Register, 5/10). The survey also revealed that four in 10 Latina women questioned will be ineligible for Medicaid or Social Security, and most lack retirement savings. However, participation in the survey prompted many women to ask questions about Social Security eligibility and health screenings. Study volunteers noted that the women's greatest fear was becoming disabled and dependent. Mary Paul, executive board member of Latino Health Access, said, "They've spent all their lives giving of themselves and their strength of their families, and they don't want to be dependent." But she cautioned that "two in three of them are already chronically ill, and nine in 10 of them are without health insurance. So you can see what's in store for them" (Saar/Godines, Orange County Register, 5/10).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.