Addressing racial/ethnic group disparities in health insurance benefits through legislative mandates requires attention to the different proportions of racial/ethnic groups among insurance markets. This necessary baseline data, however, has proven difficult to measure. We applied racial/ethnic data from the 2009 California Health Interview Survey to the 2012 California Health Benefits Review Program Cost and Coverage Model to determine the racial/ethnic composition of ten health insurance market segments. We found disproportional representation of racial/ethnic groups by segment, thus affecting the health insurance impacts of benefit mandates. California’s Medicaid program is disproportionately Latino (60 % in Medi-Cal, compared to 39 % for the entire population), and the individual insurance market is disproportionately non-Latino white. Gender differences also exist. Mandates could unintentionally increase insurance coverage racial/ethnic disparities. Policymakers should consider the distribution of existing racial/ethnic disparities as criteria for legislative action on benefit mandates across health insurance markets.
- Benefit mandates
- Health insurance
- Racial/ethnic group disparities
- State health policy
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health