Policy Issue

Policy Watch: Two Studies Highlight Gaps in Health Insurance Coverage

May 16, 2023

The Center for Health Information and Analysis (CHIA) released a research brief last month that explores a contributing factor to health inequities among the immigrant population - access to continuous health coverage.

Massachusetts leads the nation in health insurance coverage rates, but CHIA researchers sought to understand whether the high coverage rates apply to all residents equally, regardless of immigration or citizenship status.

Using data from the Massachusetts Health Insurance Survey (MHIS), CHIA found gaps in continuous coverage rates among non-citizens that persisted after controlling for other variables like race, income, and educational attainment. Non-citizen children and older adults in particular are less likely to have continuous coverage. The report discusses potential explanations and highlights the urgency to resolve these gaps as the demographic makeup of the state rapidly changes.

A second report released in April by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation (BCBSMAF) also looked at barriers to coverage and found that people who are Black or Hispanic, or who have lower incomes, experience significantly higher rates of uninsurance than the state population overall. As a result, these groups are more likely to face access barriers and financial insecurity associated with being uninsured.

Together, these reports offer insight and practical suggestions to help the state close health insurance coverage gaps.

Access the CHIA report here.

Access the BCBSMAF report here.

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