Disparities in Quality of Care for Midlife Adults (Ages 45–64) Versus Older Adults (Ages >65). 5.2 Key Findings on Disparities in Care for Older Adults


To fill the gap in the literature about consistent disparities in quality of care for midlife vs. older adults, we conducted new analyses, taking advantage of a large, nationally representative sample of Americans evaluated in the MEPS. Analyses showed that racial/ethnic differences were prominent for effectiveness measures, with results favoring non-Hispanic Whites, but there were few statistically significant gender differences in effectiveness of care measures. There were statistically significant differences in patient-centeredness measures, but the magnitude of effect was generally small and inconsistent across gender and race/ethnicity groups. The most consistent findings related to access to care measures were that midlife adults more often reported delays in care than Medicare-eligible older adults and women reported access problems more often than men. Whites were more likely to report problems in access to care, compared to Blacks or Hispanics, which is contrary to most disparities findings favoring Whites over other racial/ethnic groups. Subsequent analyses demonstrated that these patterns persisted even after controlling for health insurance status. The midlife adult population, especially the uninsured, also demonstrated worse access to care than the Medicare-covered older adults. However, there were few significant gender or health insurance differences for effectiveness of care or patient-centeredness measures.

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