State Health Equity Initiatives Confront Decades of Racism in the Insurance Industry

By Jalisa Clark and Christine Monahan

As another Marketplace Open Enrollment Period begins, millions of Americans will turn to insurance brokers to guide them to affordable and comprehensive insurance plans. However, a 2022 survey shows that the population brokers serve is overwhelmingly white; nearly half of health insurance brokers self-reported that their client base is comprised of 5 percent or fewer Black clients, while 70 percent reported a client base with 5 percent or fewer Asian clients and 43 percent reported serving 5 percent or fewer Hispanic clients. The composition of the broker profession is majority white as well. Currently, every nonwhite racial group is underrepresented in the broker industry. For example, despite comprising 13.5 percent of the U.S. population, Black individuals account for only 9.3 percent of all brokers.

Underrepresentation of both brokers and clients of color can be partly attributed to the history of racial discrimination and exclusion in the insurance industry. From 19th-century Jim Crow discriminatory policies to the proliferation of algorithmic racism, the insurance industry designed policies to deny, overcharge, and exclude people of color.

In a new post for the Commonwealth Fund’s To the Point blog, CHIR’s Jalisa Clark and Christine Monahan describe the historical origins of current disparities in the broker profession and discuss how the Affordable Care Act (ACA) Marketplaces are intervening. The authors highlight state-based Marketplace efforts to foster the development of more brokers of color and ensure brokers are equitably serving the diverse populations in their state. You can read the full post here.

1 Comment

  • I read the CHIRblog article dated October 26, 2023, and I must express my concern about the reliance on the 2022 Kaiser Survey as the primary data source. It’s clear that this survey may not provide a comprehensive overview of the current situation, and therefore, the information in the article may not accurately represent the complete picture.

    I am truly appalled by the inaccuracies present in this article. The importance of accurate and up-to-date data cannot be overstated, especially when discussing issues that affect such a diverse and dynamic population. It’s crucial that we base our analysis on the most recent and comprehensive information available.

    I would like to extend an invitation to the authors of this article to connect with my membership. They work tirelessly to assist individuals from all walks of life, representing a wide range of nationalities and backgrounds. By collaborating with experts on the ground, we can gain a more nuanced and accurate understanding of the issues at hand.

    Accurate data and a comprehensive perspective are vital when addressing complex topics, and I believe that by working together, we can contribute to a more informed and effective discussion. Thank you for your attention to this matter.

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The opinions expressed here are solely those of the individual blog post authors and do not represent the views of Georgetown University, the Center on Health Insurance Reforms, any organization that the author is affiliated with, or the opinions of any other author who publishes on this blog.