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Race, Ethnicity and the Dynamics of Health Insurance Coverage

Author

Listed:
  • 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.

Suggested Citation

  • Fairlie, Robert W. & London, Rebecca A., 2008. "Race, Ethnicity and the Dynamics of Health Insurance Coverage," IZA Discussion Papers 3708, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp3708
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Oaxaca, Ronald, 1973. "Male-Female Wage Differentials in Urban Labor Markets," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 14(3), pages 693-709, October.
    2. Kanika Kapur, 1998. "The impact of health on job mobility : a measure of job lock," Open Access publications 10197/297, School of Economics, University College Dublin.
    3. Brigitte C. Madrian, 1994. "Employment-Based Health Insurance and Job Mobility: Is there Evidence of Job-Lock?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(1), pages 27-54.
    4. 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.
    5. Farber, Henry S. & Levy, Helen, 2000. "Recent trends in employer-sponsored health insurance coverage: are bad jobs getting worse?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(1), pages 93-119, January.
    6. Kanika Kapur, 1998. "The Impact of Health on Job Mobility: A Measure of Job Lock," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 51(2), pages 282-298, January.
    7. Donna B. Gilleskie & Byron F. Lutz, 2002. "The Impact of Employer-Provided Health Insurance on Dynamic Employment Transitions," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 37(1), pages 129-162.
    8. 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.
    9. 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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    Cited by:

    1. Heeju Sohn, 2017. "Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Health Insurance Coverage: Dynamics of Gaining and Losing Coverage Over the Life-Course," Population Research and Policy Review, Springer;Southern Demographic Association (SDA), vol. 36(2), pages 181-201, April.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    health insurance; insurance dynamics; race;

    JEL classification:

    • I1 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health
    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination

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