Why Do Hispanics Have So Little Employer-Sponsored Health Insurance?

Fall 2007
Inquiry , Vol. 44
James D. Reschovsky, Jack Hadley, Len M. Nichols

This paper investigates low rates of employer health insurance coverage among Hispanics using national data from the Community Tracking Study Household Survey. Interview language served as a proxy for the degree of assimilation. Findings indicate that English-speaking Hispanics are more similar to whites in their labor market experiences and coverage than they are to Spanish-speaking Hispanics. Spanishspeakers’ very low human capital (including their inability to speak English) results in much less access to job-based insurance. Though less important, Spanish-speaking Hispanics’ demand for employer-sponsored insurance appears lower than that of English-speaking Hispanics or whites. Results suggest that language and job training may be the most effective way to bolster Hispanics’ insurance coverage.

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