Health Coverage of Immigrants – Kaiser Family Foundation

By the Kaiser Family Foundation | Originally published on February 15, 2019

This brief released from the Kaiser Family Foundation provides an overview of current health coverage for noncitizens in the United States and discusses major issues that arise from being uninsured, including increased barriers to care and financial stability.

This brief provides an overview of health coverage for noncitizens and discusses key issues for health coverage and care for immigrant families today. It shows:

  • In 2017, there were 22 million noncitizens residing in the United States, accounting for about 7% of the total U.S. population. Noncitizens include lawfully present and undocumented immigrants. Many individuals live in mixed immigration status families that may include lawfully present immigrants, undocumented immigrants, and/or citizens. One in four children has an immigrant parent and the majority of these children are citizens.
  • Noncitizens are significantly more likely than citizens to be uninsured. Among the nonelderly population, 23% of lawfully present immigrants and more than four in ten (45%) undocumented immigrants are uninsured compared to less than one in ten (8%) citizens. Moreover, among citizen children, those with at least one non-citizen parent are nearly twice as likely to be uninsured as those with citizen parents (7% vs. 4%).
  • Recent changes in immigration policy are leading to increased fears that may lead to declines in coverage among immigrant families and their citizen children. In particular, proposed changes to public charge policy that would newly consider use of certain non-cash programs, including Medicaid, when determining whether to deny an individual a green card or entry into the U.S., would likely lead to broad decreases in participation in Medicaid among immigrant families and their primarily U.S.-born children. Declines in coverage for families would increase barriers to care and financial instability, negatively affecting the growth and healthy development of their children.

Read the full brief from the Kaiser Family Foundation.

The Kaiser Family Foundation is a non-profit organization focusing on national health issues, as well as the U.S. role in global health policy. 

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