An Overview of Hispanics and their Access to Affordable Healthcare
As we celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, it’s important to revise what Hispanics face when it comes to health.
First, it’s important to remind ourselves of who we are in America. We are a driving force of the American economy. As a group, we have a GDP of $2.3 trillion, that would make us the 8th largest economy in the world, and the 3rd fastest economy. Latino GDP is growing 70% faster than the non-latino GDP. At this rate, we will represent more than 25% of the country’s GDP in few years.
In spite of this fantastic scenario, we need to review the challenges Latinos face when it comes to health.
Three trends pose a growing issue for Hispanics families in the United States: 1) Hispanics have the highest uninsured rates of any racial or ethnic group; in 2015, 19.5 percent of the Hispanic population was not covered by health insurance, as compared to 6.3 percent of the non-Hispanic white population; 2) the Hispanic community is projected to comprise almost 29 percent of the U.S. population by 2050; and 3) healthcare disparity for this underserved population persists in the form of barriers to care, including cultural/language barriers, lack of access to preventive care, and the lack of health insurance.
Additionally, 33 percent do not speak English well enough to navigate the current healthcare system, and 20 percent live under the poverty line and can’t afford basic primary care needs
And that’s just access to care. Now, what about diseases and co-morbidities:
• The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 50 percent of Hispanic adults in the U.S. are expected to develop type 2 diabetes, compared with 40 percent for non-Hispanic adults.
• 50 percent more likely to die from diabetes or liver disease
• 23 percent higher incidence of obesity than Caucasians
• 24 percent higher frequency of uncontrolled blood pressure than Caucasians
• Hispanic Americans face higher risks of heart disease than Caucasian Americans due to higher rates of high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes.
• Among Mexican - American adults, 33 percent of men and 31 percent of women have cardiovascular disease.
• Cardiovascular disease causes more deaths for Hispanic Americans than all forms of cancer combined.
• Hispanic women are significantly less aware than white women that cardiovascular disease is their leading cause of death.
The good news is that proven technology is being used to leverage decades of health industry knowledge and improve access to care among Hispanic communities. These solutions and digital access align with Hispanic use of new technology tools: 84 percent of all Hispanics are online and Hispanic internet smartphone usage is 10.5 hours per week – 25 percent more than the national average.
The time is ripe for helping Hispanic communities gain simplified access to quality health. Innovative technology can enable these individuals to access care, learn about their health, and engage in behavior modification solutions to help them lead healthier and more productive lives.
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