Women's Health

Language barriers keep many Asian Americans from getting good health care


By Cara Murez

health day reporter

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 28, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Many Asian American and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander adults may have difficulty accessing health care and insurance due to language barriers, a new analysis indicates.

In a new report from the Urban Institute and supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, researchers found that more than 30% of people in this group had limited English proficiency in 2019. The rate was similar to that of Hispanic adults, but with more varied rates. language communication may be more difficult for this group.

While most Hispanic adults in the United States speak Spanish, Asian American and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander (AANHPI) adults in the same circumstances speak a wide variety of languages ​​and dialects.

“These results point to the need for greater language accessibility for this group in health care settings and when registering and renewing health insurance coverage – especially when certain health care protections expire. pandemic-related illness coverage,” said Jennifer Haley, senior research associate at the Urban Institute.

Haley noted that the White House Advisory Commission on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders is considering recommendations on accessibility for members of that community with limited English proficiency.

“Despite stereotypes that some people in AANHPI are a ‘model minority’ and not disadvantaged, many members of this community face several barriers that could reduce their access to health insurance,” Haley said. in a press release from Robert Wood Johnson.

Other findings include that 15% of Asian American adults live in a household in which all members ages 14 and older report limited English proficiency.

Limited English proficiency rates vary across different AANHPI subgroups. For example, these rates are around 12% for Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander adults, but much higher, at 40%, for Chinese, Bangladeshi, Vietnamese, Nepalese and Burmese adults.

Those with limited English proficiency are more likely to be non-US citizens and have lower incomes, less education and higher insurance rates than those with English proficiency, according to the to analyse.

“As health care systems identify and work to address systemic drivers of racial inequality, it is clear that resources need to be culturally and linguistically appropriate to improve access to coverage. and care for people with limited English proficiency,” said Gina Hijjawi, senior program manager at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

“State and federal officials must develop and target culturally and language-appropriate resources to ensure that more people, including those with [limited English proficiency] have the opportunity to improve their health and that of their communities,” Hijjawi said in the statement.

More information

KFF has more on health and healthcare disparities.

SOURCE: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, press release, December 13, 2022


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