Insured Immigrants Have Lower Medical Costs Than U.S.-Born Citizens, Study Finds
Insured immigrants have lower medical expenses than insured U.S.-born citizens after taking into account their health status and other characteristics, according to a study released on Thursday and published in the American Journal of Public Health, Reuters Health reports. For the study, Leighton Ku, a health policy researcher at George Washington University, and colleagues examined data on adults ages 19 to 64 from the 2003 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, and found that about 44% of recent immigrants and 63% of established immigrants were insured.
After controlling for possible contributing factors, researchers found that medical costs averaged about 14% to 20% less than those who were born in the U.S. The finding was the same even after taking into account lower insurance levels among immigrants. Ku said, "When you control for their health status and all sorts of characteristics like age, they actually have medical expenditures that are far below those of U.S. citizens." According to the study, "Being a recent immigrant or an established immigrant was independently associated with both a reduced likelihood of using any medical care in the year and with lower total medical expenditure levels, compared with U.S.-born adults" (Reuters Health, 5/14).
An abstract of the study is available online.