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Immigrants and Health Care

Immigrants, regardless of status, are less likely to have health insurance.

  • Noncitizen immigrants are more than three times as likely to be uninsured (44 percent) as native-born citizens (13 percent). Seventeen percent of naturalized citizens are uninsured.{1}
  • African-Americans (20.5 percent uninsured) and Hispanics (34 percent) are much more likely to be uninsured than non-Hispanic whites (10.8 percent).{2}

Uninsured Immigrants are not the cause of the US health care crisis

  • Seventy-four percent of the uninsured people in the United States are US citizens.{3}
  • Declines in job-based insurance and changes in the economy and labor market - not immigration trends - are responsible for increasing uninsured rates.{4}
  • The average immigrant uses less than half the dollar amount of health care services as the average person born in the US ($2,546 per capita in health care versus $1,139).{5}
  • Immigrant children receive 71 percent less care in doctors' offices and 72 percent less prescription medications.{6}
  • Health care expenditures for uninsured immigrant children are 86 percent lower than those for uninsured US-born children.{7}
  • Despite the fact that all immigrants are eligible for emergency medical services, they had lower expenditures for emergency room visits, as well as doctor's office visits, outpatient hospital visits, inpatient hospital visits, and prescription drugs.{8}

For more information, call Carrie Tracy atNWFCO (206) 568-5400
1265 S. Main St., #305
Seattle, WA, 98144
http://www.nwfco.org

  1. Leighton Ku, "Why Immigrants Lack Adequate Access to Health Care and Health Insurance" September 2006.
  2. Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, "More Americans, Including More Children, Now Lack Health Insurance" August 2007. California Immigrant Policy Center.
  3. Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured, 2005.
  4. Santa A. Mohanty, "Unequal Access: Immigrants and U.S. Health Care" (Immigration Policy Center, July 2006).
  5. Sarita A. Mohanty, Health Care Expenditures of Immigrants in the United States: A Nationally Representative Analysis", American Journal of Public Health, August 2005.
  6. Sarita A. Mohanty, Health Care Expenditures of Immigrants in the United States: A Nationally Representative Analysis", American Journal of Public Health, August 2005.
  7. Sarita A. Mohanty, "Unequal Access: Immigrants and U.S. Health Care" (Immigration Policy Center, July 2006).

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