Lack of health insurance is a serious problem in the United States. Using data from the 1996 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, this paper examines how insurance varies between black, white, and Latino adults. Because Latino subgroups are not homogeneous, the paper also compares the factors associated with health insurance status for Mexican and Puerto Rican adults. Results indicate that access to private health insurance for Latino adults was more closely associated with workplace characteristics than employment itself. Time lived in the United States was a major factor associated with being uninsured for Mexican adults, while language barriers were a major factor limiting Puerto Rican individuals' access to private health insurance. The paper suggests two approaches for decreasing uninsurance among Latino adults: (1) strengthening the link between employment and private health insurance and (2) addressing disparities in access to public coverage for racial and ethnic groups, including recent immigrants.


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pp. 504-525
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