Health Care Disconnect: Gaps in Coverage and Care for Minority Adults: Findings from the Commonwealth Fund Biennial Health Insurance Survey (2005)

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Analysis of the Commonwealth Fund Biennial Health Insurance Survey (2005) finds that uninsured rates for Hispanic and African American adults are one-and-a-half to three times greater than the rate for white adults. Nearly two-thirds (62%) of working-age Hispanics and one-third (33%) of African Americans were uninsured at some point during 2005, compared with 20 percent of working-age whites. Hispanics are particularly disconnected from the health care system, being substantially less likely than whites to have a regular doctor, to have visited a doctor in the past year, or to feel confident about their ability to manage their health problems. African Americans are significantly more likely than whites to visit the emergency room for non-urgent care and to experience serious problems with medical bills and medical debt. Along with expanded insurance coverage, policies promoting continuity in patients' relationships with health care providers also are needed to reduce disparities in access.