The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA

The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA

3178.0: Monday, November 17, 2003 - 12:30 PM

Abstract #72505

Barriers to participation in public and private insurance programs among Massachusetts Latinos

Michael Doonan, PhD, Schneider Institute for Health Policy, Brandeis University, Heller School, 415 South Street/MS 035, Waltham, MA 02454, 781-736-4831,

This presentation provides insight into why eligible Latinos in Massachusetts do not participate in available public and private insurance programs. The study combines primary data collected through six focus groups (51 people) with secondary data and available information on access to insurance for this population. This analysis supports the work of the Center for MassHealth Evaluation and Research (CMER) for a HRSA-funded State Planning Grant awarded to the Commonwealth in September 2000 and led by the Division of Medical Assistance and the Division of Health Care Finance and Policy. This research is intended to support the state in developing viable options for providing access to affordable health insurance coverage for all Massachusetts residents. It identifies existing and potential barriers to insurance coverage for a disproportionately uninsured Latino population.

Consistent with current knowledge, cost, immigration status, and administrative complexity are primary barriers to obtaining public and private health insurance. The focus groups also identified language, the length of applications and redundancy between human service programs and MassHealth (Medicaid) recertification as obstacles to obtaining health insurance. Unlike some studies, we did not find significant evidence that Latinos forgo insurance because they believe they do not need it or because free or low cost care is a viable alternative. Unlike the literature we found that participants did have a good understanding of the state’s Medicaid program. However, few participants knew about the states program that assists people obtain insurance from their employer. The presentation will also report on interesting sub-group variation.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Health Insurance, Latinos

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

Uninsured: Reaching, Enrolling and Serving Them

The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA