Asian American Access to Care in the Affordable Care Act Era: Findings from a Population-Based Survey in California
Though Asian Americans made gains in coverage following the Affordable Care Act (ACA), substantial variations in access to care remain across different ethnic subgroups. Several states are considering adoption of policies to collect health data for Asian Americans that is disaggregated by ethnic subgroup, which may identify disparities in access to care.
We examined coverage and access to care between non-Hispanic White and Asian American adults following the ACA in California. We first compared outcomes in non-Hispanic White adults with all Asian Americans in our sample, and then evaluated whether we detect disparities when data is disaggregated into five of the most populous ethnic subgroups (Chinese, Korean, Filipino, Vietnamese, and Japanese).
Cross-sectional California Health Interview Survey data were collected between January 2014 and December 2016.
Our sample included 19,201 non-Hispanic White and 3077 Asian American non-elderly adults age 18 to 64 living in California.
Our outcomes were (1) being uninsured, (2) having a usual source of care, (3) delaying necessary medical care, and (4) delaying necessary prescription medications. Using multivariable logistic regression models, we examined our outcomes, adjusting for predisposing, enabling, need, and acculturation factors.
Compared with non-Hispanic Whites, some subgroups of Asian Americans reported significantly worse access to care: disaggregated, adjusted analyses revealed that Koreans were significantly less likely to report a usual source of care (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] = 0.31, p < 0.01) relative to non-Hispanic Whites. Chinese (AOR = 0.42, p < 0.01) and Vietnamese (AOR = 0.34, p < 0.01) adults were significantly less likely to delay necessary care.
Disaggregated analyses identified differences in access to care for Asian American subgroups following the ACA. State policies to collect disaggregated health data for Asian Americans may reveal heterogeneity in experiences of care and inform specific policies to reduce disparities in access to care.
KEY WORDSaccess to care disparities minority health health care reform health policy
Kevin H. Nguyen completed this work while supported by an Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality National Research Service Award Grant (Grant No. T32 HS000011-32) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health Policy Research Scholars program.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
The authors declare that they do not have a conflict of interest.
Institutional Review Board Approval
IRB approval was not needed, as this project used publicly available, de-identified California Health Interview Survey data from the University of California, Los Angeles.
The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the position or policy of the Department of Veterans Affairs or the US government.
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