LOS ANGELES – Despite vital health insurance coverage gains in California under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Latinos continue to fall behind other racial and ethnic groups in coverage and access to health care, according to a UCLA study released Thursday.
A study by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research finds that Latinos are less likely to have health insurance due to lack of coverage through an employer and barriers such as restrictions based on citizenship status. This lack of coverage means that they have less access to health care services, ultimately resulting in poorer health outcomes.
In order to extend coverage and access for this group, authors of the study said policies must be expanded to include noncitizens and efforts must be made to increase employer-based coverage. Currently, California is unable to implement a program that allows the state to fund health care through Medi-Cal regardless of citizenship status. The study uses data from the 2015-2016 California Health Interview Survey.
Some notable findings:
– 13.7% of California’s Latinos (ages 0-64) remain uninsured
– 21.6% of uninsured Latinos (ages 0-64) who are eligible for Medi-Cal are not enrolled
– 76% of Latino children (ages 0-18 years) can enroll in Medi-Cal but are not enrolled
– Uninsured rates differ (are higher) for Latinos who came to the U.S. less than 10 years and ago and those with low English proficiency
– Uninsured rates differ with education and income levels