Last week, the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) released a new issue brief examining health coverage by race and ethnicity under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and its impact on disparities in health coverage. The KFF analysis found that non-elderly people of color have experienced larger coverage gains than non-elderly white people since the implementation of the ACA. According to KFF data, national uninsured rates decreased by 9 percentage points for Hispanic/Latino people, 7 percentage points for Asian people, and 5 percentage points for non-Hispanic Black people from 2013 to 2015 compared to 4 percentage points for white people.
People of color in New York State have experienced similar gains in coverage under the ACA. According to data from the United States Census Bureau, uninsured rates in New York State decreased by 10.2 percentage points for American Indian/Alaskan Native people, 7.3 percentage points for Hispanic/Latino people, 6.3 percentage points for Asian people, and 4.9 percentage points for non-Hispanic Black people from 2013 to 2015 compared to 3.3 percentage points for white people. The only group that did not experience these comparatively larger coverage gains was the Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander population.
This an important step forward in the reduction of health coverage disparities. However, the KFF brief warns that even with the larger coverage gains, people of color are still more likely to be uninsured than white people. Nationally, people of color accounted for more than half of the 28.5 million remaining uninsured in 2015.
Targeted outreach and enrollment efforts to reach the remaining uninsured, many of whom are eligible for coverage as well as financial assistance, could augment these coverage gains and continue the progress toward health coverage equity that has already begun under the ACA.