Publication Date: October 21st, 2007
Publication Type(s): Policy Brief
Topic(s): Aging, American Indians and Alaska Natives, Health Disparities and Health Equity, Healthcare Access, Uninsured and Underinsured
Author(s): Upper Midwest Rural Health Research Center
This project examines health insurance coverage and access to health care among American Indian and Alaska Native elders (Native elders) — defined as 55 years or older. Young elders, 55 to 64 years of age, are most likely to be uninsured with one-third reporting having no insurance, while 15% of older elders, 65 years of age and over, report they are uninsured. Uninsured Native elders are about twice as likely as insured Native elders to indicate they have no regular provider. In addition, one out of 10 Native elders report they were not able to get care when they needed it during the preceding 12 months. Reasons cited for not getting health care when it was needed included long waiting times, transportation problems, and cost. The authors conclude it is essential to develop policies that address the financial, geographical, and cultural aspects that negatively impact access to culturally appropriate healthcare.