Study: Latinos Are Closing the Big Gap in Access to Healthcare

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Latinos have far less health insurance coverage than their white and black peers.

Click image to see chart on Latino health insurance statistics.

But disparities in access to healthcare have narrowed for Latinos, compared to whites, thanks to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and healthcare.gov in English and Spanish, according to a new report.

The Commonwealth Fund report shows:

  • The uninsured rate for Latinos adults dropped by 12 percentage points from 2013 to 2015. That’s a larger decline than among blacks (9 percentage points) and whites (5 percentage points).
  • The share of Latino adults who skipped doctor’s visits because of costs decreased by 5 percentage points, from 27% percent to 22%. That’s a larger decline than among whites (2 percentage points).
  • The share of black and of Hispanic adults age 18 and older without a usual source of care, like a family doctor, both decreased by 4 percentage points. Whites decreased by 1 percentage point. Having a usual source of care is a strong predictor of health care access.

While the study showed significant progress and reason for optimism, more work needs to be done.

The study also found Latinos are still more likely to not get their medical care needs met compared to Whites.

Latinos often lack access to access to resources, opportunities, and access that greatly impact their overall health and well-being. These health disparities often force low-income Latino families to make difficult choices when it comes to health, education, and finances.

“If we are going to reduce these disparities, we must continue to focus on policies like expanding eligibility for Medicaid that will address our health care system’s historic inequities,” Dr. Pamela Riley of the The Commonwealth Fund told NBC News.

In states with expanded Medicaid coverage, the rate of uninsured Latino adults dropped 14%.

This compares to 11% in states that did not expand coverage.

“Improving upon the Affordable Care Act, and expanding Medicaid in all states, will be critical if we are going to see disparities continue to shrink and ensure that everyone can get affordable, high-quality health care,” said Dr. David Blumenthal, president of The Commonwealth Fund.

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By The Numbers By The Numbers

46

Percent

of all Latinos are homeowners. That's far fewer than Whites (72%).

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