Health care
Health care Via Pexels

According to the Kansas Health Institute's annual review of health insurance coverage, Latinos in the state are three times more likely to lack health insurance than white residents. "The disparities are a little bit smaller than they used to be, but they definitely still remain," said Kaci Cink, an analyst with the organization.

A little over one in five Hispanics (20.1%) lacked private or public coverage in 2022. The figure for Blacks was 12.7% and 6.2% for White residents. The overall uninsured rate in Kansas was 8.6%, ranking it 13th highest in the United States and exceeding the 6.3% average among states that expanded Medicaid eligibility.

The Kansas Reflector quotes several specialists who gathered at a forum hosted by Kansas Health Institute on Thursday to discuss the findings and provide insight into some of the causes behind the disparity.

Ton Miras Neira, a community health worker project manager at the University of Kansas Medical Center, highlighted the language barrier for non-English speakers as a contributing factor:

"Clients that are not full citizens, they are like, 'Oh, I'm not getting insurance because I might be deported. Many of the Latinos that I'm working with, even when they go to the hospital or they enroll in insurance, they improvise a name that is not theirs, just in case."

Geovannie Gone, executive director of the Immunize Kansas Coalition, preferred to focus on the financial causes. "It's not that they don't want insurance," Gone said. "Families cannot afford the high insurance premiums offered by the employers."

Gone also cited cultural differences as an aggravating issue, pointing to traditional "self-care practices" that precede medical help in many families.

Christina Pacheco, an assistant professor of family medicine and community health at the University of Kansas Medical Center, said immigrants who have recently arrived to the country tend to be healthier than the average local resident, which might influence their decision not to secure insurance:

"Folks are doing that cost-benefit analysis for themselves. And, they may also not intend to stay in the United States indefinitely and see insurance as an unnecessary long-term commitment."

© 2024 Latin Times. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.