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Keywords:

  • health insurance;
  • Hispanic workers;
  • health disparities;
  • healthcare utilization;
  • occupation

Abstract

Introduction

Approximately 18% of the U.S. population are uninsured, a proportion that may continue to rise, particularly among Hispanics, as the cost of medical care increases faster than the growth in wages.

Methods

Health insurance trends were analyzed by race–ethnic category, and among Hispanic workers by occupation type and industrial sector, using data on employed respondents ≥18 years from 1997 to 2007 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) (mean annual n = 17,392, representing 123 million US workers on average over this 11 year period).

Results

From 1997 to 2007, the relative decline in health insurance coverage for US workers was greatest among Hispanics (7.0%). Hispanic workers in the Construction and Services industries had the greatest overall decline in coverage (24.9% and 14.7%), as well as Hispanic blue collar workers (14.0%).

Conclusion

Hispanic workers in general, and those employed in blue collar, construction, and services sectors in particular, are at greater risk for poor access to health care due to a lack of health insurance coverage. Am. J. Ind. Med. 53:163–170 2010. © 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.