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Disparities in Health and Health Care: 5 Key Questions and Answers

Disparities in health and health care for people of color and underserved groups are longstanding challenges. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated these disparities and heightened the importance of addressing them. Health disparities are driven by underlying social and economic inequities that are rooted in racism. Addressing disparities is important not only from a social justice standpoint but for improving our nation’s overall health and economic prosperity.

A Snapshot of Sources of Coverage Among Medicare Beneficiaries in 2018

Using the most current data available, this analysis describes current sources of coverage among Medicare beneficiaries in 2018, including sources of supplemental coverage among traditional Medicare beneficiaries (Medicaid, employer-sponsored retiree health benefits, and Medigap) and enrollment in private Medicare Advantage plans.

Does Education Narrow the Gap in Wealth Among Older Adults, by Race and Ethnicity?

This analysis of per capita income and assets among older adults in 2019 shows that differences in median per capita income among White, Black, and Hispanic adults ages 65 and older are narrower when comparing people with similar levels of education, although among college graduates, the gap in income continues to be wide between Hispanic and White seniors. The gaps in savings and home equity remain wide, and are particularly striking among seniors with less than a high school education. The patterns are similar for men and women, as well as across different age groups of older adults.

How the COVID-19 Pandemic is Affecting People’s Mental Health and Substance Use

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic crisis, about 4 in 10 adults nationwide have reported symptoms of anxiety or depressive disorder – a four-fold increase from pre-pandemic levels. Drawing on the latest national survey data, KFF polling and other research, an updated brief explores what’s known about the pandemic’s…

The Coverage Gap: Uninsured Poor Adults in States that Do Not Expand Medicaid

In states that do not implement the Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), many adults will fall into a “coverage gap” of earning too much to qualify for Medicaid but not enough to qualify for Marketplace premium tax credits. Nationwide, 2.2 million poor uninsured adults are in this situation. This brief presents estimates of the number of people in non-expansion states who could have been reached by Medicaid but instead fall into the coverage gap and discusses the implications of them being left out of ACA coverage expansions.

Who Didn’t Get a Second Shingrix Shot? Implications for Multidose COVID-19 Vaccines

As the U.S. prepares for nationwide distribution of vaccines to combat COVID-19, some are asking whether people who get the first of two doses will return to complete the series. This analysis draws on Medicare Part D prescription drug claims data for the herpes zoster vaccine Shingrix, which also requires two doses, to shed light on this potential challenge of the leading COVID-19 vaccine candidates.

Options to Make Medicare More Affordable For Beneficiaries Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic and Beyond

Medicare provides significant health and financial protections to more than 60 million Americans, but there are gaps in coverage and high cost-sharing requirements that can make health care difficult to afford. This report analyzes several policy options that could help make health care more affordable for people covered by Medicare, especially beneficiaries with relatively low incomes: adding an out-of-pocket limit to traditional Medicare, adding a hard out-of-pocket cap to Part D, expanding financial assistance through the Medicare Savings Programs, and expanding financial assistance through the Part D low-income subsidy program.

Key Facts about the Uninsured Population

This issue brief describes trends in health coverage prior to the pandemic, examines the characteristics of the uninsured population in 2019, and summarizes the access and financial implications of not having coverage.

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in San Francisco, California.