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4.21.2008

study finds insurance disparities between asian americans

National health care studies often treat Asian Americans as a homogeneous, and largely healthy group, but a new study analyzing three years of government-compiled data has revealed substantial pockets of poor health and low insurance levels within the population. In particular, Korean Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders register with lower levels of insurance than African Americans and whites: Study Reveals Health Care Woes of Asian Americans.

The analysis, conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum, found that the proportion of non-elderly Asians who are uninsured varies widely, ranging from 12 percent of Japanese and Asian Indians, 14 percent of Filipinos, to 21 percent of Vietnamese and 24 percent of Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders. Koreans have the highest rates of uninsured—31 percent.

Interestingly, the low level of insurance in the Korean American community is not the result of poverty, as one might expect, but rather because most Korean Americans—around 60 percent—either own or are employed by small companies that can't afford to provide their workers with health insurance. Among those Koreans with insurance, only 49 percent have employer-sponsored health coverage. To see the full report, go here: Race, Ethnicity & Health Care.