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Racial/Ethnic Insurance Coverage Disparity Down Since ACA

From 2013 to 2017, drop seen in unadjusted, adjusted black-white gap, Hispanic-white gap in uninsurance

WEDNESDAY, March 4, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Since the implementation of coverage expansions associated with the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the disparities in insurance coverage related to race and ethnicity have decreased, according to a study published in the March issue of Health Affairs.

Thomas C. Buchmueller, Ph.D., and Helen G. Levy, Ph.D., from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, examined racial and ethnic disparities in health insurance coverage following the health insurance coverage expansions of the ACA.

The researchers found that before 2014, about 15 percent of white nonelderly adults were uninsured, compared with about 24 percent and more than 40 percent of black and Hispanic adults, respectively. The proportion of uninsured began to decrease in 2014 in all three groups, with larger gains in coverage for minority groups. From 2013 to 2017, there was a 4.4 percent decrease in the unadjusted black-white gap in uninsurance nationally, while the adjusted gap decreased by 3.8 percent. The unadjusted Hispanic-white gap decreased by 9.1 percent and the adjusted gap decreased by 8.2 percent. The narrowing of these gaps was largely attributed to larger gains in private insurance for blacks and Hispanics versus whites.

“Since the enactment of the ACA, insurance coverage has increased overall, and racial/ethnic disparities in coverage and access have decreased,” the authors write. “However, insurance coverage is still far from universal, and substantial disparities remain.”

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