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Factors associated with ethnic differences in health insurance coverage and type among Asian Americans

Factors associated with ethnic differences in health insurance coverage and type among Asian Americans

Journal of Community Health 35(2): 142-155

This study examines the discrepancies in health insurance coverage and type across Asian American ethnic groups and the potential factors that may explain why these differences exist. Asian Americans are often considered as a homogeneous population and consequently, remain largely "invisible" in the current research literature. Recent data have highlighted discrepancies in the health insurance coverage between different Asian American ethnic groups-particularly the high uninsurance rates among Korean and Vietnamese Americans. For this study, the 2003 and 2005 California Health Interview Surveys were pooled to obtain a sample of 6,610 Asian American adults aged 18-64, including those of Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, South Asian, and Vietnamese ethnicity. Binomial and multinomial logistic regression models were used to examine the likelihood of current health coverage and insurance type (employer-based vs. private vs. public), respectively. The results showed that ethnic differences in uninsurance and insurance type were partially explained by socioeconomic and immigration-related characteristics-particularly for Vietnamese Americans and to a lesser extent, for Chinese and Korean Americans. There were also key differences in the extent to which specific ethnic groups purchased private insurance or relied on public programs (e.g., Medicaid) to offset the lack of employer-based coverage. This study reaffirms the tremendous heterogeneity in the Asian American population and the need for more targeted policy approaches. With the lack of adequate national data, more localized studies may help to improve our understanding of the health issues affecting specific Asian ethnic groups.

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Accession: 053193046

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PMID: 20013061

DOI: 10.1007/s10900-009-9209-x

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