Education levels, health coverage, linked in new study

June 18, 2010

California women without a high school diploma are nearly four times more likely to be uninsured as women with a college degree, according to a new study by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research.

Nearly 2.5 million California women between the ages of 18 and 64 were uninsured at some time during 2007, according to the report. Among those most likely to be uninsured were Latinas (35 percent) and American Indian/Alaska Natives (26 percent), very low–income women (42 percent), single women without children (28 percent), and single mothers (27 percent).

Education levels were a major indicator of insurance status. Four out of 10 women (42 percent) without a high school degree did not have health insurance, in contrast to 11 percent of college-educated women. But even one-quarter of women with a high school degree lacked coverage — an uninsurance rate more than twice that of college-educated women.

One big reason for the disparity: college-educated women are far more likely to get insurance through their job. About 75 percent of women with a college degree had insurance through an employer, compared to 49 percent of those with just a high school diploma and 23 percent of women who had not finished high school.

“Health insurance coverage and education are clearly linked,” Roberta Wyn, a women’s health expert and lead author of the report, said in a written statement.

The report was based on data from the 2007 California Health Interview Survey (CHIS), the nation’s largest state health survey.

To see the full report, go here.

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