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The Link Between Healthcare Coverage and Educational Attainment

MHA careers offer opportunities to improve access to medical care.

Access to healthcare is an ongoing and urgent concern in the United States and is often a topic of study for professionals with healthcare administration degrees. As stakeholders investigate the barriers that prevent people from receiving medical services, the level of educational attainment continues to indicate healthcare disparity.1

“Experts have long recognized that adults with a high school degree or less face significant health disparities compared with those who attended or completed college,” a spokesperson for the Urban Institute wrote upon the release of its report, “Education and Health: Long-Term Trends by Race, Ethnicity, and Geography, 1997-2017.”2

The Link Between Healthcare Coverage and Educational Attainment

According to Healthy People 2020, an initiative of the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, “Those aged 25–64 years with an advanced degree had the highest rate of health insurance coverage among educational attainment groups, 96.2% in 2018.”1

Rates for other groups were:1

  • 67% among persons with less than a high school education
  • 82.4% among persons with a high school education
  • 87.6% among persons with some college education 
  • 89.8% among persons with an associate degree
  • 94% among persons with a 4-year college degree  

“Research suggests that the Affordable Care Act may have played a modest role in narrowing health disparities between less and more educated adults since 2011, but significant gaps remain,” the Urban Institute said. “… Ending health disparities among the less-educated will take new investment in higher education and skill-building opportunities that allow more people to realize the health and economic benefits associated with more education.”2

Making a Difference With an MHA Degree

According to Healthy People 2020, approximately one in five Americans lacks medical insurance.1 With an online Master of Healthcare Administration (MHA) degree, you can become a change-maker who helps build healthier communities.

“People without medical insurance are more likely to lack a usual source of medical care, such as a primary care provider, and are more likely to skip routine medical care due to costs, increasing their risk for serious and disabling health conditions,” a Healthy People 2020 report said. “Increasing access to both routine medical care and medical insurance are vital steps in improving the health of all Americans.”1

Walden offers a general program and four specializations, which include Leadership and Organizational Development, Population Health, Social Entrepreneurship and Innovation, and Systems and Policy. You can also choose between the course-based program or Walden’s flexible, competency-based degree program that allows you to work around your busy schedule.

What is competency-based education? At Walden, you’ll progress toward your degree course by course, proving your knowledge by completing competencies: skills, knowledge, and abilities that you’ll use to demonstrate your progress. By completing all the competencies included within the degree program, students demonstrate that they have acquired skills and knowledge specifically identified by leaders in the MHA field, and are able to apply them immediately in their work lives.

With an online health administration degree, you can enter a career segment growing much faster than average, and which labor experts project will add 422,300 jobs between 2019–2029.3 And an MHA degree can potentially lead to higher earnings. In May 2019, the median annual wage for medical and health services managers in all industries was $100,980.3

Depending on your master’s degree specialization, you may choose to pursue career options that include:

  • Hospital or health services administrator
  • Director of managed care
  • Academic program or departmental advisor
  • Compliance or business operations director 
  • Health and medical services manager
  • Director of business functions such as marketing, operations, and planning
  • Director of patient access  

With your insight, knowledge, skills, and experience, you can help shape the future of healthcare and work to improve access for all. Advance your leadership potential with a master’s in healthcare administration and get ready to serve your community as an innovative leader.

Walden University is an accredited institution offering an online Master of Healthcare Administration (MHA) degree program. Expand your career options and earn your degree in a convenient, flexible format that fits your busy life.


Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission,