This study provided a national profile of health insurance of certain vulnerable populations including children, racial/ethnic minorities, low- income families, non-metropolitan statistical area (MSA) residents, and those with poor health status. The study shows an increase in the proportion of uninsured nonelderly population. While public insurance helped reduce the employment- and health-related disparities in private coverage, it has not overcome other disparities related to vulnerable characteristics including race/ethnicity, wages, education, and area of residence. Comparison between health maintenance organization (HMO) and fee-for-service insurance indicates that younger although not much healthier people, racial/ethnic minorities, MSA residents, and those residing in the West and Northeast regions were more likely to have HMO coverage. To reduce significant disparities in health insurance coverage, policy makers will have to consider expanding public insurance coverage, targeting vulnerable groups, particularly those with multiple vulnerable characteristics rather than merely the economically distressed. Expecting managed care to achieve cost containment for services provided to vulnerable populations may be unrealistic.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health Policy