Survey Points to Unequal Minority Healthcare

Joseph DiCristofaro, Student Reporter

Black and Latino communities in the mountain state are often underrepresented in healthcare, new data suggests.

“We really see that in West Virginia where Black communities are almost seven times more likely to not have insurance,” said Nick VinZant, senior analyst at QuoteWizard, “and when we look at Hispanic communities, they are eight times more likely to not have insurance.”

Nineteen percent of Black residents in West Virginia are without any form of health insurance, which is nearly double the national average of 10%, according to a study released by QuoteWizard, a national insurance comparison website.

“We have also found that there are institutional and organizational challenges that people of color face that white communities generally do not that lead to this disparity in healthcare,” VinZant said.

Many of these institutional challenges faced by minorities are not specific to West Virginia, but rather nationwide.

“One of the institutional challenges is that healthcare services are often not as prevalent in certain areas, and those areas are often where people of color live,” VinZant said. 

He went on to say, “You can see these challenges in not only West Virginia, but nationwide where people of color are two to three times more likely to not have insurance.”

While these disparities can be found nationwide, in rural states such as West Virginia and Wyoming and in southern states such as Mississippi, healthcare disparities among minorities are much more prevalent, VinZant said.

Using several different methods of data gathering led to the creation of a much clearer picture of how and why people of color are often left without adequate health insurance.

“We used a combination of information from the Kaiser Family Foundation, which studies and looks into health insurance and healthcare nationwide,” VinZant said, “and then we also used information from the United States Census Bureau household poll survey.”

The use of this information, when creating this study, gave QuoteWizard an immediate picture as to what changes are happening in society involving healthcare, VinZant also said.