CHIA Releases New Report on Health Care Equity in Massachusetts

DATE : December 16, 2021

CHIA has released a new report on health care equity in Massachusetts. Health Insurance Coverage and Care in Massachusetts, 2015-2019: A Baseline Assessment of Gaps by Age, Race and Ethnicity, and Income is the first report in a new series by CHIA exploring health care equity in the Commonwealth.   

This report provides a baseline assessment of gaps in health insurance coverage, access, utilization, and affordability in the period leading up to the COVID-19 pandemic based on three key characteristics: age, race/ethnicity, and family income groups. 

Key Findings

  • Among residents with low family incomes, 78.8% of Black residents and 75.0% of Hispanic residents reported having 12 or more months of continuous health insurance coverage, compared with 91.7% of White residents. 


  • Among residents with moderate family income, 39.3% of Hispanic residents reported difficulties accessing care at a doctor’s office or clinic, compared with 29.6% of White residents.


  • Hispanic residents were nearly three times as likely to have a potential reliance on the ER for care than White residents, and residents with low family incomes were 2.5 times more likely than residents with high family incomes to rely on the ER for care.


  • Within every racial/ethnic group, the highest rates of family medical debt or problems paying family medical bills were for residents in the moderate family income group.


CHIA will continue to monitor developments in these domains for different subpopulations as insights from this report series may help inform efforts to better target interventions for a more equitable health care system in the Commonwealth. This report is also accompanied by a databook and technical appendix.

The data for this report is sourced from the Massachusetts Health Insurance Survey (MHIS) from 2015 through 2019. For additional information on the MHIS and related health care affordability findings in the Commonwealth see