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New MEPS chartbook presents data on minority health

The Agency for Health Care Policy and Research has published a new chartbook that presents estimates of health insurance coverage, access to health care, and health status for blacks, Hispanics, and whites in America. The chartbook, Racial and Ethnic Differences in Health, 1996, features findings from AHCPR's 1996 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS). This is the second chartbook released from MEPS data; the first chartbook, Children's Health, 1996 (AHCPR Publication No. 98-0008), was released in March 1998.

Using a question-and-answer style along with charts and graphs, the chartbook compares differences in health that each racial/ethnic group experienced during 1996. Significant findings include:

  • More than one-third of Hispanics had no health insurance coverage. Although Hispanics represent only 11.6 percent of the U.S. population under age 65, they make up over 21 percent of the uninsured population.
  • Hispanic and black Americans were more likely than white Americans to lack private, job-related health insurance coverage.
  • Blacks were the group most likely to have only public insurance: more than one-fourth of blacks, compared with one-fifth of Hispanics and one-tenth of whites, were covered by public insurance.
  • Families headed by Hispanics were the most likely to report barriers to obtaining the health care they needed, and they were the least likely to have a usual source of health care.
  • Blacks and Hispanics were more likely than whites to be in fair or poor health.

Print copies of the chartbook, Racial and Ethnic Differences in Health, 1996 (AHCPR Publication Number 99-0001), are available from the AHCPR Publication Clearinghouse.

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