Racial and ethnic disparities revealed in recession-era healthcare usage

January 15, 2013

Many Americans lost their jobs--and their health insurance--during the past few years of recession, but a new study shows that minorities may have been hit the hardest.

Many Americans lost their jobs-and their health insurance-during the past few years of recession, but a new study shows that minorities may have been hit the hardest.

One-fourth of African-Americans and Hispanics lost their jobs and employment-based health insurance, compared with 15% of whites, according to a new research letter published in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Office-based physician visits had the steepest drop for Hispanics and African-Americans during the 2-year study period, although both whites and Hispanics say they visited the doctor less overall than before the recession.

Prescription drug usage changed over the recession, too-only not for minorities, unlike physician visits. Hispanics had the lowest rate of prescription drug fills before the recession, and that didn’t change throughout the study period. African-Americans also reported no statistical change in their prescription drug habits. But whites had the highest rate of prescription drug use pre-recession (8.40), and that number dropped from 2007 to 2009 (8.09).

No statistically significant difference existed in emergency department visits before and after the recession across all of the racial/ethnic groups, but the study indicates that the use of preventive services also declined throughout the recession.

 

 

 

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