Most Americans can sign up for relatively generous insurance coverage through Medicare at age 65. But a recent study co-authored by Vivian Ho, James A. Baker III Institute Chair in Health Economics, shows that Medicare-eligible blacks with coronary heart disease or who have suffered a stroke are less likely than whites or Hispanics to regularly see a doctor.

The study authors speculate that the deductible that Medicare beneficiaries must pay before receiving insured physician services or the 20 percent co-pay may be too much for many low-income black Medicare beneficiaries to expend.

"Further research should determine whether financial challenges, lack of understanding on how to access the health care system or misunderstandings of the importance of receiving regular care are most crucial for eliminating these socioeconomic disparities," the authors write in a September 2012 Health Policy Research newsletter that describes the study.

The study, written by Jerome Dugan, Ph.D.; Salim S. Virani, M.D.; and Ho appeared in the June 2012 issue of Medical Care. Dugan originally authored the paper as a doctoral student of Ho at Rice University.

  • Read the full study in the June 2012 issue of Medical Care.