Hispanics more likely to lack health care coverage

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Hispanics in smaller, more rural communities have greater barriers in accessing care than do Hispanics in larger communities, according to a report released on Thursday by the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured, the Bradenton Herald reports.

For the study, researchers compared insurance coverage for Hispanics living in "new-growth" communities, with those living in "major Hispanic centers."

The study classifies new-growth communities as areas where Spanish-speaking residents still number less than 5% of the total population, despite having experienced recent growth.

Major Hispanic population centers are cities with large Hispanic populations like Chicago, Miami, Los Angeles and New York City, according to the study (Wright, Bradenton Herald, 9/22).

The study finds that 31% of Hispanics living in new-growth communities are uninsured.

The report also says that 43% of Hispanics in new-growth communities live within five miles of a community health center, compared with 71% of their counterparts in major centers (Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured release, 9/21).

In addition, 50% of Hispanics in rural areas live within 10 miles of a safety-net hospital, compared with 82% of Hispanics in larger cities.

Findings show that Hispanic patients and their physicians in new-growth communities reported having a more difficult time communicating than those in larger cities (United Press International, 9/21).

In addition, among populations where people are unable to access routine medical care, children often miss vaccinations and treatment for contagious diseases, the report said.

According to Peter Cunningham, lead author of the study, Hispanics are much less likely than other groups to have health insurance because a large number are employed in low-wage jobs that do not offer health benefits.

Cunningham said, "We need to pay attention to these trends and develop strategies to address the disparities in health care for Hispanics" (Bradenton Herald, 9/22).

The report is available online.

An interview with Cunningham is available online at kaisernetwork.org.


Kaiser Health NewsThis article was reprinted from khn.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.

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