Immigrants and Health Care Access, Quality, and Cost

Published In: Medical Care Research and Review, v. 66, no. 4, Aug. 2009, p. 355-408

Posted on RAND.org on August 01, 2009

by Kathryn Pitkin Derose, Benjamin Bahney, Nicole Lurie, Jose J. Escarce

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Inadequate access and poor quality care for immigrants could have serious consequences for their health and that of the overall U.S. population. The authors conducted a systematic search for post-1996, population-based studies of immigrants and health care. Of the 1,559 articles identified, 67 met study criteria of which 77% examined access, 27% quality, and 6% cost. Noncitizens and their children were less likely to have health insurance and a regular source of care and had lower use than the U.S. born. The foreign born or non-English speakers were less satisfied and reported lower ratings and more discrimination. Immigrants incurred lower costs than the U.S. born, except emergency department expenditures for immigrant children. Policy solutions are needed to improve health care for immigrants and their children. Research is needed to elucidate immigrantsgas nonfinancial barriers, receipt of specific processes of care, cost of care, and health care experiences in nontraditional U.S. destinations.

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