Older Immigrants and Health Insurance: Differences by Region of Origin in Patterns and Sources of Coverage

Adriana M. Reyes, Pennsylvania State University
Melissa Hardy, Pennsylvania State University

We examine how the foreign born from various regions compare to the native born in the stability of health insurance coverage in the years before retirement age, with specific attention to the sources of health insurance. Using the two more recent SIPP panels and monthly reports of coverage, we view sequences of source-specific coverage as a latent pathway that impedes or facilitates health maintenance in pre-retirement (and for many, pre-Medicare coverage). The patterns and source of health insurance coverage are varied, demonstrating the instability of coverage for many. Almost 20% of respondents have changes in the source of health insurance over the observation period. We find that immigrants are more likely to have no health insurance and be in volatile trajectories compared to the native born. Immigrants from Latin America are especially disadvantaged, indicating that the current health care system is not addressing the needs of this group adequately.

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Presented in Poster Session 6: Population Aging; Gender, Race and Ethnicity