Hispanic Access To Health Care:

Significant Gaps Exist

T-PEMD-91-13: Published: Sep 19, 1991. Publicly Released: Sep 19, 1991.

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GAO discussed Hispanic health in the United States, focusing on: (1) why a higher percentage of Hispanics than non-Hispanics lack health insurance; (2) why various Hispanic subgroups have differing health insurance coverage rates; (3) the extent to which Medicaid and Medicare serve the Hispanic population; and (4) the data sources available on the health status of Hispanics in the United States. GAO noted that: (1) 33 percent of Hispanics were uninsured during all or part of 1989; (2) 78 percent of Hispanic family members under age 65 who are uninsured are in families with an adult worker, and very few Hispanic families with no adult worker employed have private insurance; (3) in comparison with whites and blacks, a greater proportion of Hispanics are employed in industries that are less likely to provide health insurance; (4) employed Hispanic males with incomes above poverty level had much higher rates of private insurance than did employed Hispanic males with incomes below poverty level; (5) since Cuban-Americans are more economically advantaged, they are more likely than Mexican-Americans and Puerto Ricans to have private health insurance; (6) 91 percent of elderly Hispanics are covered by Medicare; (7) Hispanics in general, and Mexican-Americans in particular, have difficulty gaining access to Medicaid because of the stringency in state Medicaid policies; and (8) data sources with useful information on the health status of the Hispanic population include the census and the Current Population Survey, vital statistics, Medicare and Medicaid, and special surveys.

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