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Ethnoracial inequality and insurance coverage among Latino young adults


Previous research has demonstrated that Latino young adults are uninsured at higher rates relative to other ethnoracial groups. Recent implementation of the 2010 Affordable Care Act (ACA) has increased access to health insurance for young adults, in part by maintaining health coverage through their parents until age 26. This paper examines patterns of Latino young adults' insurance coverage during early ACA implementation by addressing three questions: 1) To what extent do Latino young adults remain uninsured relative to their peers of other ethnoracial groups? 2) How do young adults' family socioeconomic background, immigrant characteristics, college enrollment, and employment status mediate their coverage? And, 3) do patterns of insurance coverage differ for employer-provided coverage versus other sources of coverage (including parents' health insurance)? Using a 2011 representative sample of U.S.-born and 1.5-generation immigrant young adults in California, we find that Latinos are more likely than other ethnoracial groups to remain uninsured. While they are as likely as similar peers to obtain employer-provided health insurance, they are less likely to possess insurance through other sources (including their parents). This study contributes to our understanding of the limits of the ACA in reducing disparities in insurance coverage for Latinos by highlighting the importance of family socioeconomic background, immigrant characteristics, college enrollment, and employment in shaping coverage among this age group.

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