Children of Immigrants Less Likely to Have Coverage Under Employer-Sponsored Health Insurance, Report Finds
Although documented immigrants with children in California are more likely to hold full-time jobs than U.S.-born parents, documented immigrants' children are less likely to have access to employer-sponsored health insurance, according to a report released Monday by advocacy group Children Now, the Fresno Bee reports. The report, titled "California Report Card 2004: Focus on Children in Immigrant Families," used data from the U.S. Census, the California Health Interview Survey and the National Survey of America's Families. The report found that 48% of all children in the state have at least one foreign-born parent and that 84% of those children have at least one parent who works full time. However, 43% of documented immigrant families and 16% of children of working, undocumented immigrants have employer-sponsored health insurance, compared with 73% of children in native families, according to the report.
Teresa Alvarado, project director for the Fresno Health Consumer Center, said, "The principal reason [for the low rate of coverage] is that people who are employed are in low-paying jobs, and most of those jobs don't have insurance attached to them." Many children in immigrant families were born in the United States -- 82% -- but often their families do not apply for public assistance over concerns that it could jeopardize their immigration status, the Bee reports. "They don't want to get any benefits because they believe any acceptance of benefits is a bad thing," Alvarado said. Sarah Grossman-Swenson, an author of the report and senior policy associate for Children Now, said the study is "about the typical California child -- I think that might surprise people." Grossman-Swenson added that the state should invest in services that "help hard-working families," including health care assistance (Anderson, Fresno Bee, 5/18). The report is available online.This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.