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Am J Public Health. 2005 Aug;95(8):1431-8.

Health care expenditures of immigrants in the United States: a nationally representative analysis.

Author information

  • 1Department of Medicine, Division of Geriatric and General Internal Medicine, University of Southern California, 2020 Zonal Ave, IRD 627, Los Angeles, CA 90033, USA. samohant@usc.edu

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

We compared the health care expenditures of immigrants residing in the United States with health care expenditures of US-born persons.

METHODS:

We used the 1998 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey linked to the 1996-1997 National Health Interview Survey to analyze data on 18398 US-born persons and 2843 immigrants. Using a 2-part regression model, we estimated total health care expenditures, as well as expenditures for emergency department (ED) visits, office-based visits, hospital-based outpatient visits, inpatient visits, and prescription drugs.

RESULTS:

Immigrants accounted for $39.5 billion (SE=$4 billion) in health care expenditures. After multivariate adjustment, per capita total health care expenditures of immigrants were 55% lower than those of US-born persons ($1139 vs $2546). Similarly, expenditures for uninsured and publicly insured immigrants were approximately half those of their US-born counterparts. Immigrant children had 74% lower per capita health care expenditures than US-born children. However, ED expenditures were more than 3 times higher for immigrant children than for US-born children.

CONCLUSIONS:

Health care expenditures are substantially lower for immigrants than for US-born persons. Our study refutes the assumption that immigrants represent a disproportionate financial burden on the US health care system.

PMID:
16043671
PMCID:
PMC1449377
DOI:
10.2105/AJPH.2004.044602
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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