The incomplete integration of Mexican and Central American immigrants in the U.S. has made them vulnerable to low levels of health insurance coverage, according to a study by the University of California-Los Angeles Center for Health Policy Research. The authors called for new models of health insurance to give immigrants better access to health care.
The majority of Mexican and Central American immigrants are unable to afford individual health insurance, making them vulnerable to the high cost of treatment in the U.S., the study found. According to the authors, policymakers need to consider several issues in developing strategies for extending coverage to immigrants, including the:
- Size of the Mexican and Central American immigrant community in the U.S.;
- Number of immigrants with dependents living in other countries;
- Reluctance of immigrants to consult agencies for assistance because of concerns about their immigration status (Zúñiga et. al, UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, 10/1).