Health Insurance Access and Participation Among Latinos in Iowa

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Byrne, Michaela
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Greder, Kimberly
Morrill Professor
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Human Sciences Extension and Outreach
Human Sciences Extension and Outreach provides research-based information and education to help families make decisions that improve their lives. As the outreach arm of the College of Human Sciences, faculty and staff work together with specialists located across Iowa’s 99 counties to translate university research to practice for local individuals, families, employers, and communities. Human sciences outreach focuses on food safety, nutrition, wellness, caregiving, parenting, relationships, and personal finance for people across the lifespan. Human Sciences hotlines and call centers offer assistance with home and family questions, stress counseling, financial concerns, and legal questions. One of its hallmark programs, the Strengthening Families Program: For Parents and Youth 10-14 (SFP 10-14), was named the most effective program for decreasing the onset of drug and alcohol problems in youth out of 6,000 prevention and intervention programs. The Pan American Health Organization and the United Nations has adapted SFP 10-14 for use in other countries.
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Latinos are the largest and fastest growing population group in Iowa. Between 2000 and 2013, there was a 104.7 percent increase in the Latino population in Iowa1. In 2013, Latinos made up 5.5% of Iowa’s population, and are projected to comprise 12.4% of Iowa’s population by 20401. Among all population groups in the U.S., health insurance plays a critical role in people’s access to health care, their health outcomes, and protecting against expected and unexpected health care costs. The Health Insurance Marketplace, an outcome of the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, has led to a significant increase in the percentage of individuals who have health insurance coverage who previously did not have health insurance. Among the Latino population, the percent of uninsured working adults dropped from 36% in the U.S. in 2013 to 23% in 2014.2 In states such as Iowa that expanded Medicaid eligibility, the rate decreased even greater–from 35% to 17%.2 However, even though a larger proportion of the Latino population has health insurance coverage, there remains a significant portion of the Latino population, including those who are immigrants, who continue to face barriers in obtaining health insurance. This brief provides information about the importance of health insurance, current available insurance options, and persistent barriers many Latinos face in regard to accessing health insurance.