Marriage and Health Care Coverage Among Families with Children. Racial and Ethnic Differences in Coverage Rates

08/01/2008

The relationship between marital status and family health care coverage differs among racial and ethnic groups.

Among whites, the percentage of families with any type of full family health care coverage (Table 3) is higher for married-parent families (90 percent) than for single-parent families (83 percent). Among Hispanics, however, single-parent families have higher coverage rates than married-parent families (69 percent versus 50 percent). The percentage of African-American families with full family health care coverage does not differ by marital status.

Table 3
Health Care Coverage Rates Among Families with Children,
by Marital Status, Coverage Type, and Race/Ethnicity, 2003
Coverage Type and Racial/Ethnic Group Percentage of Families Fully Covered
Married-Parent Families Single-Parent Families
Any Type
Whites 90 83
African-Americans 82 81
Hispanics 50 69
Public
Whites 10 34
African-Americans 16 48
Hispanics 10 41
Employment-Based
Whites 77 46
African-Americans 65 32
Hispanics 36 26
Source: Annual Social and Economic Supplement (ASEC) to the Current Population Survey (CPS), 2004.
Notes: Estimates of direct-purchased and mixed health care coverage are excluded from this table because rates for these coverage types are less than 10 percent for all racial/ethnic groups. The estimates for whites and Africans are limited to non-Hispanics in these groups. For married-parent families, the estimates are limited to same-race couples.

Hispanic families with married parents have the lowest rates of full family health care coverage.

In 2003, the percentage of married-parent families with health care coverage for all family members (Table 3) was lower for Hispanic families (50 percent) than for African Americans (82 percent) and whites (90 percent). Almost all of this difference is due to low rates of employment-based health care coverage among Hispanic families (36 percent coverage for Hispanics versus 65 percent for African-Americans and 77 percent for whites). By contrast, rates of public health care coverage for married-parent families were similar regardless of racial/ethnic background.

Rates of partial family health care coverage are higher for Hispanic families than for African Americans and whites.

In 2003, about 40 percent of married-parent Hispanic families had health care coverage for some but not all family members, compared to 8 percent for married-parent white families and 14 percent for African American families with married parents (Figure 3). Rates of partial health care coverage were also higher for single-parent Hispanic families (24 percent) than for African Americans (16 percent) and whites (14 percent). These differences in rates of partial family health care coverage are due in part to the lower rates of full family health care coverage among Hispanic families (Table 3).

Figure 3
Rates of Partial Health Care Coverage Among Families with Children,
by Marital Status and Race/Ethnicity, 2003

Figure 3: Rates of Partial Health Care Coverage Among Families with Children, by Marital Status and Race/Ethnicity, 2003. See text for explanation of chart.

Source: Annual Social and Economic Supplement (ASEC)
to the Current Population Survey (CPS), 2004.
Note: Partial health care coverage means that some
but not all family members had coverage.

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