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Author: Dushi, Irena ; Honig, Marjorie
Working Paper: Offers or Take-Up: Explaining Minorities’ Lower Health Insurance Coverage (PDF) ; March 2005

Research Findings (HTML)

Coverage under employment-based health insurance has declined in recent years among full-time workers in the U.S. This change has been particularly dramatic for some minority populations. By 2001, CPS data reveal 21 and 15 percentage point differentials between the coverage rates of Hispanic and non-Hispanic white men and women. Data from the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) indicate that white-minority disparities are explained by differences in employer offers rather than in household decisions regarding take-up of offered coverage.

We find that race and ethnicity have significant effects on offer probabilities after controlling for detailed demographic and job characteristics. The magnitudes of these effects differ across racial and ethnic groups and by household composition and gender. Aggregating across all race and ethnicity groups, we compare offer and take-up functions between white and minority workers. Wages and employment in large firms and in professional and technical occupations have considerably larger effects on the probabilities that minority workers, relative to whites, are offered health benefits. We also find that the proportions of white-minority differences in offer and take-up probabilities that are explained by job and demographic characteristics differ substantially by household composition and by gender.