Report: Race, Income Key Factors in Women’s Health, InsuranceLOS ANGELES
Race and income levels are key factors in determining whether women are healthy and whether they have health insurance, according to a public health report released last month.
The University of California, Los Angeles, Center for Health Policy Research examined overall health, insurance coverage and access to health care by women ages 18 to 64 using data from the 2001 California Health Interview Survey, a telephone survey of 25,588 women.
The study found that women living below the poverty line and women of color were more likely to be uninsured and report fair or poor health than women with higher incomes and White women.
Twenty-nine percent of Hispanic women surveyed, for example, said they were in fair or poor health, as opposed to 11 percent of White women.
Low-income women were three times more likely than those with higher incomes to be in fair or poor health, the report found.
Among women ages 45 to 64, some racial groups were disproportionately affected by chronic health conditions, according to the study. American Indian women were more than twice as likely to complain of arthritis than Asians, while 17 percent of African American women suffered from heart disease, as compared to 7 percent of Whites.
At the time the survey was taken, 17 percent of the women were uninsured, with 69 percent of those living below the poverty line. Lack of affordability was the main reason given for lack of health insurance.
A quarter of all California women between 18 and 64 spent some time without insurance within a 12-month period, the report found.
Among the report’s other findings:
• Hispanic women were the most likely of all racial groups to be uninsured, with one third of them lacking coverage.
• Low-income women with Medi-Cal coverage experienced gaps in their coverage more frequently than women with private insurance.
• Younger women were the most likely age group to lack health insurance.
• Among insured women, one-fourth were not covered for eye examinations and 6 percent lacked prescription drug coverage.
The report warned that California’s budget crisis might further restrict public programs targeting low-income women with limited health insurance options.
— Associated Press
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