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Under The ACA, Uninsurance Disparities Narrow For Black And Hispanic Adults 

Bethesda, MDSince racial and ethnic minorities make up a disproportionate share of US residents without health insurance, expanded coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was expected to reduce disparities in the US health care system. A new study, being released by Health Affairs as a Web First, compared uninsurance rates for white, black, and Hispanic adults in 2013 and 2014, focusing on the periods just before and after the first ACA enrollment period. The study found that by the fourth quarter of 2014 the uninsurance rate for Hispanics (both citizens and noncitizens) had declined to 31.8 percent from 40.1 percent in the third quarter of 2013. During the same period, uninsurance for blacks declined from 25.5 percent to 17.2 percent; and white adult uninsurance was reduced from 14.8 percent to 10.5 percent.



Uninsurance Disparities Have Narrowed For Black And Hispanic Adults Under The Affordable Care Act


By Stacey McMorrow, Sharon K. Long, Genevieve M. Kenney, and Nathaniel Anderson


McMorrow, Long, and Kenney are affiliated with the Urban Institute in Washington, D.C. Anderson is with the University of California, Los Angeles.


This study, part of the journal's reestablished DataWatch series, will appear in the October issue of Health Affairs. It was supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

The authors used data from the National Health Interview Survey (conducted annually by the National Center for Health Statistics of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) to calculate two measures of disparities. The "absolute disparity" is the difference between the percentage uninsured for blacks or Hispanics and that for whites, while the "relative disparity" reflects the ratio of the percentage uninsured for blacks or Hispanics to whites. The study examined how these disparities changed between 2013 and 2014 in states expanding Medicaid and in nonexpansion states. "We found reductions in absolute disparities in the uninsurance rates for blacks and Hispanics in both expansion and nonexpansion states," the authors concluded. However, they cautioned that "changes in relative disparities in uninsurance were mixed...and significant gaps in the uninsurance rates remained for blacks and Hispanics, compared to whites, in expansion and nonexpansion states in 2014."