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Ethn Dis. 2000 Autumn;10(3):418-31.

Changes in US health care access in the 90s: race and income differences from the CARDIA Study. Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults.

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1
University of Alabama at Birmingham, 35205-4785, USA. ckiefe@uab.edu

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

Health care financing is changing rapidly in the United States. We investigated whether and how health care access is changing concurrently with changes in financing, with special attention to a minority population.

METHODS:

We examined a longitudinal biracial (half African-American, half White) urban cohort of 3,565 individuals, aged 25-37 years old, in 1992-93 and again in 1995-96. We measured access by self-reported (1) health insurance status, (2) regular source of medical care, and (3) lack of care due to financial problems.

RESULTS:

In 1992-93, 30.3% of the cohort experienced at least one access barrier, with a decline to 26.8% in 1995-96 (P<.005). However, access improved more for Whites than for African Americans; and access improved for higher, but not for lower, income groups (7% improvement for high income, vs 2% deterioration for lower income, P<.01). In addition, there was an 11% to 19% absolute increase in individuals making co-payments for health care utilization across all race/sex groups, with African Americans having markedly higher proportions of cost-sharing. African-American, low income, and unemployed individuals reported more acute care, but fewer outpatient visits. Income and employment explained racial differences.

CONCLUSION:

While access has improved or stabilized for higher income groups, there is a widening gap according to income, accompanied by an acute care pattern for low income groups that may be both inadequate and cost inefficient.

PMID:
11110359
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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