176137 Access to Health Care along the US-Mexico Border

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Juan Rafael Albertorio, MA , International Statistics Program, National Center for Health Statistics, Hyattsville, MD
Francis C. Notzon, PhD , International Statistics Program, National Center for Health Statistics, Hyattsville, MD
Lisa Cacari Stone, PhD , Department of Family & Communitiy Medicine, University of New Mexico Health Science Center, RWJF Center for Health Policy at UNM, Alburquerque, NM
Background: To address health disparities issues along the US-Mexico Border, the USMBHC established a 10-year disease prevention and health promotion program- called Healthy Border 2010. One of the selected health indicators is health insurance coverage of the border population. Estimates of health insurance coverage for regions smaller than state level are hard to obtain. Moreover, estimates based on ethnicity for border residents, and the association between access to care and health insurance status was previously unavailable.

Study Design: Four years of the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), 2000-2003, were merged to calculate lack of health insurance coverage for the 44 counties nearest the US-Mexico Border. Estimates were stratified by selected access to health care survey questions, ethnicity, insurance status, and geographic areas.

Findings: Within the US-Mexico Border, 22.9% were uninsured and 44.1% of these had lacked coverage for a year or more. In comparison with the US, the Border population was more likely to report significant inability to access and afford health care, including having contact with a primary care physician, medical specialist, dentist, or mental health professional.

Conclusions: The data strongly support lack of insurance coverage on the Border. The Hispanic Border population is substantially more likely than Hispanics and Non-Hispanics in any other US region to lack health insurance coverage. This affects their ability to access health care in several fashions. Further work on insurance status and its complex relationship with access to health care is recommended for a better comprehension of this phenomenon on the border.

Learning Objectives:
• Describe the US-Mexico Border Health Commission (USMBHC) and the National Center for Health Statistics‘ Healthy Border 2010 Program • Quantify the uninsurance status of the Border adult population and how this affects access to health care • Compare coverage rates among ethnic groups, and by geographical region • Evaluate the effect of access to health care in function of insurance status

Keywords: Access to Health Care, Latinos

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have conducted public health policy and health research aimed at improving health care access and health equity along the U.S.-Mexico border area.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.

See more of: Health and the Border
See more of: Latino Caucus