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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Maryland: Study Evaluates ACA Preventive Health Services Use Among Asian Americans

Asian Americans have lower cancer screening rates than whites, but higher use of other preventive services, like routine check-ups, cholesterol screenings and flu vaccinations, according to a new Preventive Medicine Reports study co-authored by University of Maryland School of Public Health associate professor, Dr. Jie Chen.

Dr. Chen, along with her co-authors, used a nationally representative sample from the 2013-2016 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey to examine trends in the use of seven preventive services covered by the Affordable Care Act under the law’s preventive services provisions.

As the most diverse racial group in the United States, with over 50 subgroups and 100 languages, little is known about differences in the use of preventive care services among Asian subgroups since many population-based surveys classify all Asians into one group.

The study is the first to evaluate the utilization of preventive health services by Asian subgroups.

The researchers found that Asians generally had higher rates of routine check-ups, cholesterol screenings and flu vaccinations than whites. Still, except for Filipinos, all Asian subgroups had lower rates of blood pressure check-ups, pap tests and mammograms. Also, the researchers observed a decreasing trend in having pap tests, mammograms, or colorectal cancer screenings among all Asian subgroups.

Dr. Chen and co-authors suggest this could be explained by Asians being less aware of the availability of benefits or the importance of cancer screenings, due to limited English proficiency or limited health literacy.

Dr. Chen and co-authors also recommend that interventions be linguistically, culturally and socially tailored to address specific needs within Asian subgroups.

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