Access to health care among Hispanic or Latino women: United States, 2000-2002

Gulnur Freeman, Margaret Lethbridge-Cejku
Advance Data 2006 April 20, (368): 1-25

OBJECTIVE: This report presents national estimates on access to health care for the following five subgroups of Hispanic or Latino women aged 18 years and over in the United States: Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Central or South American, and other Hispanic. For comparison, estimates are also presented for non-Hispanic white women and non-Hispanic black women.

METHODS: Data for persons of all ages in the U.S. civilian noninstitutionalized population are collected each year in the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), which is conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics. Each year, data are collected for approximately 100,000 persons in 40,000 households. In the 2000-2002 surveys combined, data were collected for 54,763 women aged 18 years and over (9,082 Hispanic or Latino women), with an overall response rate of 73.4%. Estimates in this report are presented as annual estimates, averaged over the 3 survey years. Estimates were age adjusted to the 2000 U.S. standard population to permit comparison among the various race and ethnic subgroups.

RESULTS: Among the 33.4 million Hispanic or Latino women in the United States, 31% lacked health insurance coverage at the time of interview, 20% had no usual place to go for medical care during the past year, and 22% experienced unmet health care needs during the past year due to cost. Of the five subgroups of Hispanic or Latino women, Mexican women (35%) and Central or South American women (36%) were more likely than Puerto Rican women (14%) and Cuban women (23%) to lack health insurance coverage. Mexican women (78%) and Central or South American women (78%) were less likely to have a usual place to go for health care compared with Puerto Rican women (90%), Cuban women (82%), and other Hispanic women (90%). The percentage of Hispanic or Latino women who had an unmet medical need due to cost was highest among Mexican women (24%) and lowest among Cuban women (14%). Lack of access to health care was most prevalent among Hispanic or Latino women who had poor or near poor poverty status, had less than a high school diploma, or were foreign born.

CONCLUSION: Access to health care varied among subgroups of Hispanic or Latino women. Understanding these subgroup differences may help community-based programs improve access to care among Hispanic or Latino women.

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