Uninsured Rates Vary Widely Among Asian-Americans, Native Hawaiians, Pacific Islanders, Study Finds
A new analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum finds that certain subgroups of the nation's Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander populations are doing much worse than others in terms of health insurance coverage and access to health care, the Sacramento Bee reports (Magagnini, Sacramento Bee, 4/2). Korean-Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders are less likely than other Asian-American subgroups, such as Japanese-Americans or Asian-Indians, to have health insurance and twice as likely as whites to be uninsured, according to the study released on Tuesday.
The study, based on data from the 2004, 2005 and 2006 National Health Interview Survey and Current Population Survey, examined a variety of health measures among about a dozen subgroups of Asian-Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders. An estimated 13 million Asian-Americans and more than 500,000 Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders reside in the U.S. (Kaiser Family Foundation release, 4/1).
Nationwide, the study found uninsured rates of:
- 31% among nonelderly Korean-Americans (Kaiser Family Foundation release, 4/1);
- 24% among nonelderly Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders;
- 21% among nonelderly Vietnamese;
- 14% among nonelderly Filipinos; and
- 12% among nonelderly Japanese-Americans and Asian-Indians (Sacramento Bee, 4/2).
Cara James, a Kaiser Family Foundation senior policy analyst for race and ethnicity, said, "If you look at these groups in the aggregate, Asian-Americans tend to do well. They are in good health and don't have as many problems with health coverage" as other minority groups. However, she added, "you have [Korean-Americans] doing worse than African-Americans, and equal to American Indians and Alaska Natives."
Deanna Jang, policy director for APIAHF, said, "Because Asians are the 'model minority,' it's a surprise to most when they look at the specific groups and see lower rates of insurance and access to health care." She added, "Within Asian American subgroups, there are groups with higher poverty rates, and lower education levels" (New America Media, 4/2).
The study is available online.