A lack of health insurance has long been associated with negative effects on individual and family health due to access barriers. However, we know little about how a lack of health insurance affects wider communities beyond health care. Based on in-depth interviews in two Los Angeles communities, we report how a lack of health insurance affects the functioning of religious institutions and schools from kindergarten to 12th grade. We find a negative spillover effect at the individual and institutional levels for schools experiencing greater absenteeism due to health insurance problems of pupils. However, we find that religious organizations are little affected by a lack of health insurance of adherents. Instead, churches offer health programs as a means to engage their communities. Besides documenting a negative and a positive spillover effect, we offer a conceptual framework for the qualitative study of health spillover effects and examine the policy implications of our findings.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Social Psychology
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health