Life expectancy approach for measuring disparities

From the Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality (AHRQ):

As a new way to measure health care disparities, a new AHRQ study proposes analyzing health insurance status and medical need over a typical lifetime by ethnic group. This life expectancy approach can estimate the number of years that racial/ethnic groups are subject to “health insurance double jeopardy,” which authors James Kirby from AHRQ and Toshiko Kaneda from the Population Reference Bureau describe as the state of being uninsured while also in lesser health and therefore at higher risk of needing medical care.

The researchers found that the expected years of life spent in “double jeopardy” were 11 years for Hispanics, 6 years for blacks, and 4 years for whites. The authors suggest this approach as a new way to monitor progress in eliminating disparities in insurance coverage, as called for by the Affordable Care Act.

The study, “‘Double Jeopardy’ Measure Suggests Blacks and Hispanics Face More Severe Disparities Than Previously Indicated,” appeared in the October issue of Health Affairs.

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