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Community Outreach Helps Hispanic Kids Get Insurance

A shared culture makes all the difference, study finds

MONDAY, Dec. 5, 2005 (HealthDay News) -- Compared to usual U.S. government outreach and enrollment programs, Hispanic case managers from the local community are much better at getting health coverage for uninsured Hispanic children, a new study shows.

As reported in the December issue of Pediatrics, the study included 275 uninsured Boston-area Hispanic children and their parents. Some of the children were assigned to an intervention group with trained Hispanic case managers, while others were sent to a control group that received traditional Medicaid and State Children's Health Insurance Program outreach and enrollment.

The children assigned to the community-based care managers:

  • Were much more likely to obtain health insurance (96 percent vs. 57 percent), and were calculated to be eight times more likely to obtain insurance;
  • Were significantly more likely to be continuously insured (78 percent vs. 30 percent);
  • Obtained insurance faster (87.5 days vs. 134.8 days);
  • Had parents who were much more satisfied with the process of obtaining insurance -- (80 percent vs. 29 percent).

"To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study to demonstrate the elimination of a racial/ethnic disparity in health and health care," principal study author Dr. Glenn Flores, an associate professor of pediatrics, epidemiology and health policy at the Medical College of Wisconsin, said in a prepared statement.

"The intervention resulted in a dramatic increase in the number of Latino children being insured, surpassing even the percentage of insured Caucasian children," Flores said.

"By eliminating the racial/ethnic element -- having people from the same culture act as interpreters and advocates -- we found remarkable success in the program," he said.

More information

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has more about children and health insurance.

SOURCE: Medical College of Wisconsin, news release, Dec. 5, 2005
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