Objective: To examine the association between race/ethnicity concordance and in-person provider visits following the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.
Design: Using 2014-2015 data from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, we examine whether having a provider of the same race or ethnicity ("race/ethnicity concordance") affects the probability that an individual will visit a provider. Multivariate probit models are estimated to adjust for demographic, socioeconomic, and health factors.
Results: Race/ethnicity concordance significantly increases the likelihood of seeking preventative care for Hispanic, African-American, and Asian patients relative to White patients (coef = 1.46, P < 0.001; coef = 0.71, P = 0.09; coef = 1.70, P < 0.001, respectively). Race/ethnicity concordance also increases the likelihood that Hispanic and Asian patients visit their provider for new health problems (coef = 2.14, P < 0.001 and coef = 1.49, P < 0.05, respectively). We find that race/ethnicity concordance is also associated with an increase in the likelihood that Hispanic and Asian patients continue to visit their provider for ongoing medical problems (Hispanic coef = 1.06, P < 0.001; Asian coef = 1.24, P < 0.05).
Conclusions: There is an association between race/ethnicity concordance and the likelihood of patients visiting their provider. Our results demonstrate that racial disparities in health care utilization may be partially explained by race/ethnicity concordance.
Keywords: Health care utilization; Provider visits; Race concordance; Race/ethnicity concordance; Racial disparities.