Almost half of the more than 850,000 Hispanics in Georgia lack health insurance, a much higher rate than the national average, a new report finds.
The Georgia Latino Health Report 2012, released Thursday, says 47 percent of Hispanics in the state are uninsured, versus 31 percent nationally. And just 29 percent in Georgia have employer-sponsored health insurance, as compared with 37 percent in the U.S.
The insurance gap may be linked, in part, to the concentration of Georgia’s Hispanics in the construction and service industries — sectors that often don’t offer coverage to employees, said Karen Andes of Emory’s Rollins School of Public Health, and lead author of the Latino health report.
The report, released at the Latino Health Summit held at Emory, is the most comprehensive look yet at the Latino population and its health status in Georgia. The summit was sponsored by the Hispanic Health Coalition of Georgia.
A major shift in Latino health care occurred after the recession began, the report said. Many Latinos work in industries deeply hurt by the downturn. In addition, Georgia’s new immigration law has discouraged immigrants from seeking medical treatment, the report said.
The population of Hispanics in Georgia has grown eightfold since 1990, though that increase slowed in the past decade, the Latino health report found. Hispanics represented 8.8 percent of the state’s population in 2010.
“This is a population we can’t continue to ignore,’’ Andes said. Fifty-eight percent of Latinos in Georgia are U.S. citizens. And 87 percent of Hispanic children are citizens, the report found.
Their health status is worse than that of their white and black peers in several categories. full story