Top 13 Ways Medicaid Helps Minority Populations

Minority groups in the United States often face health disparities, including in access to care services and health outcomes. Medicaid provides quality health coverage that overcomes these challenges among minority groups. In recognition of Minority Health Month, the Modern Medicaid Alliance compiled 13 fast facts about the program’s impact on improving minority health. Click here for a downloadable version.

Health Gaps Among Minority Populations 

  1. Racial and ethnic minorities comprise about 60% of the uninsured population. Those without health insurance are more likely to forgo preventative care and other care services.[1]
  2. African-American women with breast cancer are more likely to be diagnosed at later stages than white women, which contributes to lower survival rates.[2]
  3. People of color utilize health care services at lower rates than their white counterparts.[3]
  4. Hispanic Americans are 70% more likely to be diagnosed with diabetes and 50% more likely to die from diabetes compared to their white counterparts.[4]
  5. American Indians/Alaska Natives have higher rates of chronic disease than the general population, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and obesity.[5]
  6. Asian Americans have the highest life expectancy in the US, but challenges with language fluency may impact the ability of some individuals in this group to access the services they need.[6]

How Medicaid Narrows Health Gaps

  1. Medicaid plays a large role in providing health care coverage to minority populations that would otherwise be uninsured. More than one in four Black and Hispanic adults are covered by Medicaid.[7]
  2. Medicaid reduces the disparity in primary care and outpatient visits between minority and white beneficiaries, encouraging patients to receive care in less costly settings.[8]
  3. Medicaid and CHIP provide health insurance to approximately 58% of Black children and 56% of Hispanic children. Both programs expand access to care services for children of color, reducing disparities and resulting in long-term health benefits.[9]
  4. Medicaid is associated with large gains in health insurance for people of color and increased access to and utilization of health care services. Greater access to care services leads to better health outcomes and reductions in longstanding health disparities.3,7
  5. Reductions in Medicaid funding would disproportionately affect minority populations that rely on the program as a central source of health insurance coverage.[10]
  6. States with expanded Medicaid coverage have fewer health disparities among minority groups compared to states that have not expanded the program.[11]
  7. Medicaid allows more American Indians/Alaska Natives to receive care. Facilities are paid based on the services provided, supplementing their annual Indian Health Services budgets.[12]

Full Sources

[1] https://www.census.gov/newsroom/blogs/random-samplings/2017/09/who_are_the_uninsure.html

[2] https://www.cancer.org/content/dam/cancer-org/research/cancer-facts-and-statistics/breast-cancer-facts-and-figures/breast-cancer-facts-and-figures-2017-2018.pdf

[3] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4711386/

[4] https://minorityhealth.hhs.gov/omh/browse.aspx?lvl=4&lvlid=63

[5] https://www.kff.org/medicaid/issue-brief/medicaid-and-american-indians-and-alaska-natives/

[6] https://minorityhealth.hhs.gov/omh/browse.aspx?lvl=3&lvlid=63

[7] https://www.kff.org/report-section/health-coverage-by-race-and-ethnicity-changes-under-the-aca-issue-brief/

[8] https://www.healthaffairs.org/doi/abs/10.1377/hlthaff.2017.1282?journalCode=hlthaff

[9] https://ccf.georgetown.edu/2017/04/26/medicaid-and-chip-help-address-racialethnic-disparities-in-childrens-health/

[10] https://www.kff.org/disparities-policy/issue-brief/what-is-at-stake-for-health-and-health-care-disparities-under-aca-repeal/

[11] http://www.commonwealthfund.org/publications/issue-briefs/2017/aug/racial-ethnic-disparities-care

[12] https://www.kff.org/medicaid/issue-brief/medicaid-and-american-indians-and-alaska-natives/