Unauthorized Immigrants Make Up 1.4% U.S. Medical Spending
Infectious disease services, participation in insurance marketplaces may aid access to care
TUESDAY, June 18 (HealthDay News) -- Unauthorized immigrants have substantially lower health care expenditures than legal residents, naturalized citizens, and U.S. natives, according to a study published online June 12 in Health Affairs.
Jim P. Stimpson, Ph.D., from the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, and colleagues used data from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (2000 to 2009) to examine differences in health care spending by nativity and legal status.
The researchers found that, together, unauthorized, legal, and naturalized immigrants accounted for $96.5 billion in average annual health care spending, compared to slightly more than $1 trillion for U.S. natives. Of the $96.5 billion, unauthorized immigrants accounted for the smallest share of health care spending -- $15.4 billion. Public-sector health care expenditures were received by only 7.9 percent of unauthorized immigrants, who received an average of $140 per person per year, compared to benefits received by 30.1 percent of U.S. natives, who each received an average of $1,385 per year.
"Policy solutions could include extending coverage to unauthorized immigrants for the prevention and treatment of infectious diseases or granting them access to the Affordable Care Act's insurance marketplaces, which start in 2014," the authors write.
Abstract (http://content.healthaffairs.org/content/early/2013/06/04/hlthaff.2013.0113 )Full Text (http://content.healthaffairs.org/content/early/2013/06/04/hlthaff.2013.0113.full )