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New Resource Available For Minority Health Data

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Hispanics Least Likely to Have Health Insurance

Press Release Date: February 22, 1999

The Agency for Health Care Policy and Research (AHCPR) today released a new chartbook presenting 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 Children's Health, 1996 chartbook was released in March 1998.

"This chartbook identifies important differences in health insurance, access to care, and health status for minorities in this country," said AHCPR Administrator John M. Eisenberg, M.D. "Recognizing these differences is an important step toward resolving problems in health care as outlined in President Clinton's 1998 Initiative to Eliminate Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Health."

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. While 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.
  • Families headed by Hispanics were the most likely to report barriers to obtaining the health care they needed, and 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.

Racial and Ethnic Differences in Health, 1996 (Publication Number 99-0001) is available through the AHCPR Publications Clearinghouse by calling 800-358-9295, or writing to P.O. Box 8547, Silver Spring, MD 20907. It also is available through the AHCPR MEPS Web site at

For additional information, contact AHCPR Public Affairs, (301) 427-1364: Karen Carp, (301) 427-1858 (; Karen Migdail, (301) 427-1855 (

The information on this page is archived and provided for reference purposes only.


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