Number of uninsured immigrant children growing

September 23, 2008

Children who are foreign-born are increasingly likely to lack health insurance, according to survey results published in the November American Journal of Public Health.

Children who are foreign-born are increasingly likely to lack health insurance, according to survey results published in the November American Journal of Public Health.

This increase has occurred despite a 1999 federal ruling that allowed immigrant families not to repay the U.S. government for Medicaid benefits. The study results, which analyzed data from 33,317 children for the 1997-2004 National Health Interview Survey, showed that immigrant children did not increase their use of publicly funded health insurance.

In addition, the study reported that low-income U.S. children were just as likely as foreign-born children to have public health insurance coverage. After 2000, foreign-born children were 1.59 times more likely than U.S.-born children to be uninsured instead of being publicly insured. While 40% of U.S.-born children were publicly insured, less than one-third of foreign-born children were in this category, the findings revealed.