E.g., 10/04/2023
E.g., 10/04/2023
Health Care for Immigrant Families: Current Policies and Issues

Low-income immigrant children are less likely than their U.S.-born citizen counterparts to see a doctor even when they are insured. Similarly, immigrant adults are less likely to use emergency rooms than low-income natives. This report examines health care coverage and usage among immigrants and the U.S. born.

The report finds that low-income immigrant children with private or public health care insurance were significantly less likely to visit a doctor’s office during 2010 than their native-born counterparts – 44 percent versus 69 percent for children with private coverage, and 62 percent versus 71.5 percent for children with public coverage. Overall, whether insured or uninsured, 47 percent of low-income immigrant children reported visiting a doctor’s office during 2010 compared to 69 percent of U.S.-born children.

Regarding adult health care usage, the report finds that immigrant adults had lower rates of doctor’s office and even emergency room visits. Analysis of Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS) data showed that 8 percent of low-income immigrant adults overall reported an emergency room visit during 2010, compared to 13 percent of their native-born peers; for those who were uninsured, the rate was 6 percent for immigrants and 14 percent of the native born. And for adults with public insurance coverage, the rate was 17 percent for immigrants and 25 percent for their U.S.-born peers.

Table of Contents 

I. Introduction

II. Health Insurance Coverage in the United States

III. Access to Health Care

IV. Language Barriers

V. Immigration Reform and Health Care

A. Health Insurance

B. Health Care Access

C. Reducing Language Barriers

VI. Issues for Future Consideration