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    Are Hispanics Afraid of Health Care? Number Crunching Health

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    Are Hispanics Afraid of Health Care? Number Crunching Health

    Hispanics in Focus

    Posted in Hispanics in Focus by on January 11, 2013

    Are Hispanics afraid of health care?  For some, the answer appears to be yes  - at least according to a new study. So at we took a look not only at the study - but also at what may be some of the underlying reasons for Hispanics' sentiments on health care. examined stats released from various recent sources of data including the U.S. Census, Los Angeles Times, and several health surveys.

    Researchers from Moffitt Cancer Center performed a random telephone survey among Hispanics, African-Americans, and the Caucasian population in San Juan and New York (
    published November 2012).  The survey shows that Hispanics are “nearly twice as likely to report that fear of being used as a “guinea pig” and lack of trust in medical professionals contribute to being unwilling to participate in cancer screenings”.

    But in addition to just lacking trust in medical professionals, the reason for less reliance on healthcare may stem from other issues - namely insurance. checked the most recent Census Bureau numbers on Hispanics and health insurance. found Hispanics hold significantly less health insurance than the non-Hispanic population. See the following chart for the statistics on health coverage among Hispanics in the U.S.: 69% vs 87% for the non-Hispanic population.

    Job Loss During Recession - Affecting Health Coverage
    And while the numbers show Hispanics are generally more under-insured compared to the non-Hispanic population, keep in mind that on top of all these numbers ---- 25% of Hispanics lost their jobs in the most recent economic downturn according to the Los Angeles Times. 

    Medical Insurance & Fear of Health Care
    A survey released this past Monday published shows the following numbers with regards to doctor’s visits per year for Hispanics. So even while the unemployment rate is decreasing, likely health insurance numbers among Hispanics are not picking up at the same rate, as many Hispanics tend to take jobs which do not necessarily provide health insurance as part of the deal.  So the issue is likely deeper than just being "afraid" of medical care.  Part of the problem is the lack of jobs employing Hispanics offering health insurance.  With health insurance out of the picture - Hispanics would naturally be more afraid of health care, doctors, hospitals etc. due to the perceived cost as well as if undocumented - there's also that fear of authority.

    Average Yearly Doctor Visits for Hispanics as Related to Employment

    Pre-Recession Numbers 2005-2006
    Average Doctor Visits for Hispanics: 4.51
    Recession Numbers 2008-2009
    Average Doctor Visits for Hispanics: 4.14
    -Medical Expenditure Panel Survey and the Los Angeles Times

    Comparing Hispanics to the General Population
    And the above numbers for yearly doctors visits for Hispanics are the lowest among the three groups surveyed: African-Americans, Hispanics, and Caucasians.  See the following chart for our analysis:


    From a Hispanic marketer’s point of view as well as a purely human point of view: the data shows the need for a renewed focus on getting Hispanics insured.   While there may be a debate as to whose responsibility it is: i.e. is it the health care system’s issue, the insurance companies issue, a government issue etc. I don’t think the topic here should be muddled by saying whose “fault” it is.  The numbers are consistently showing this is a systemic issue – and should be addressed for a variety of factors including health reasons, taxpayer reasons, as well as the inflation of the health care bills those of us pay who are insured.  The numbers tell the story.

    -Thalia Valencia
    Thalia Valencia is a staff writer for



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