Economic Snapshot | Health

Health care insecurity greatest among Hispanics

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Snapshot for February 20, 2008.

Health care insecurity greatest among Hispanics

by Elise Gould and Algernon Austin

Employer-based health insurance is eroding for everyone, but among the major racial and ethnic groups, Hispanic workers are most likely to work for small firms and in industry sectors that do not offer employer-based insurance.1 Among whites, African Americans, and Hispanics, Hispanics experience the most health care insecurity, according to the Rockefeller Foundation’s American Worker Survey. As compared to 17% of whites and 20% of African Americans, 26% of Hispanics do not visit the doctor because they are concerned about costs. Hispanics are most likely to take money out of personal or retirement savings to pay for health-related expenses, and among those with health insurance, Hispanics are most worried about losing their coverage. Hispanics are at the forefront of the decline in American health care.

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Racial differences in health care insecurity

Evidence is mounting as to the importance of universal coverage. It would bring greater income and health security to all Americans. The Economic Policy Institute’s Agenda for Shared Prosperity has proposed its Health Care for America plan, which would cover all Americans and reduce health care costs over time.

1. Gould, Elise, “The Erosion of Employment-based Insurance: More working families left uninsured,” EPI Briefing Paper #203, November 1, 2007; Heidi Shierholz, “Immigration Not Driving the Erosion of Health Insurance,” Economic Shapshots, October 31, 2007; National Council of La Raza, “Employer-Sponsored Health Insurance: Already Poor Access Further Dwindles for Working Latino Families,” (Washington D.C.: National Council of La Raza, 2008)

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