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Race, Ethnicity and the Dynamics of Health Insurance Coverage

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Author Info

  • Fairlie, Robert W.

    ()
    (University of California, Santa Cruz)

  • London, Rebecca A.

    ()
    (Stanford University)

Abstract

Using matched data from the 1996 to 2004 Current Population Survey (CPS), we examine racial patterns in annual transitions into and out of health insurance coverage. We first decompose racial differences in static health insurance coverage rates into group differences in transition rates into and out of health insurance coverage. The low rate of health insurance coverage among African-Americans is due almost entirely to higher annual rates of losing health insurance than whites. Among the uninsured, African-Americans have similar rates of gaining health insurance in the following year as whites. Estimates from the matched CPS also indicate that the lower rate of health insurance coverage among Asians is almost entirely accounted for by a relatively high rate of losing health insurance. In contrast to these findings, differences in health insurance coverage between Latinos and whites are due to group differences in both the rate of health insurance loss and gain. Using logit regression estimates, we also calculate non-linear decompositions for the racial gaps in health insurance loss and gain. We find that two main factors are responsible for differences in health insurance loss between working-age whites and minorities: job loss and education level. Higher rates of job loss account for 30 percent of the health insurance gap for African-Americans and Asians, and 16 percent of the health insurance gap for Latinos. Lower levels of education explain roughly 15 percent of the gap for African-Americans and Latinos (Asians' higher levels of education serve to close the gap). Higher rates of welfare and SSI participation among African-Americans also serve to widen the gap in health insurance loss by 8 percent.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 3708.

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Length: 52 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2008
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Research in Labor Economics, 29, 2009, 335 - 373
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp3708

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Related research

Keywords: health insurance; insurance dynamics; race;

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References

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  1. Henry S. Farber & Helen Levy, 1998. "Recent Trends in Employer-Sponsored Health Insurance Coverage: Are Bad Jobs Getting Worse?," Working Papers 781, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  2. Donna B. Gilleskie & Byron F. Lutz, 1999. "The Impact of Employer-Provided Health Insurance on Dynamic Employment Transitions," NBER Working Papers 7307, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Madrian, Brigitte C, 1994. "Employment-Based Health Insurance and Job Mobility: Is There Evidence of Job-Lock?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(1), pages 27-54, February.
  4. Brigitte C. Madrian & Lars John Lefgren, 1999. "A Note on Longitudinally Matching Current Population Survey (CPS) Respondents," NBER Technical Working Papers 0247, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Kanika Kapur, 1998. "The Impact of health on job mobility: A measure of job lock," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 51(2), pages 282-298, January.
  6. Oaxaca, Ronald L. & Ransom, Michael R., 1994. "On discrimination and the decomposition of wage differentials," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 61(1), pages 5-21, March.
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