Data Snapshot: Health insurance coverage and cost barriers by race and ethnicity in the US.
New CDC data indicate we have a long way to go on equity.
The Affordable Care Act succeeded in lowering the rates of uninsured Americans. But disparities still exist. The share of people who are uninsured, or have recently been uninsured, varies greatly by race and ethnicity. Costs also impede people from getting the care they need. A newly unveiled interactive dashboard from the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics provides many insights. Here are just a few we pulled and curated:
At the extremes, nearly 1 in 3 Hispanic people are currently uninsured, while fewer than 1 in 14 Asian people are. Note also that costs are impeding people from getting the healthcare and mental healthcare they require.
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The medical system has become more complicated over the decades. Having health insurance matters, but is not the same thing as having access. From 1999-2018, barriers to timely medical care actually increased, despite the proliferation of electronic resources that would ostensibly make things easier to access at all times. An important paper published last year in JAMA Health Forum by Dr. César Caraballo and my friend/colleague/mentor Dr. Harlan Krumholz (and their colleagues), highlighted factors other than cost that contribute to delays in care. Some of the major drivers of these delays include appointment availability, wait times, and lack of transportation.
So, we have a two-pronged problem.
First, not enough people have health insurance, or may have inadequate insurance to remove costs as a barrier to seeking the care they need. Second, there are barriers above and beyond cost that are clearly delaying care—and things are getting worse over time, not better. In both cases, there are disparities along race and ethnicity lines.
Thanks to Benjy Renton for curating Data Snapshot.
Very informative . However let’s talk about middle class who are excluded due to not having the ‘right insurance’!
Excluded from care due to an institute only taking BCBS of Massachusetts or TUFTS .
How do those services help people ?