US Immigrants health care costs lesser than natives-Study
United States, February 12: The costs of health care for immigrants are much less than the costs for natives of the US, a latest study published in the ‘Health Affairs’ journal has found.
The study also made it quite clear that undocumented immigrants in America do not make a big share of the costs of Medicaid and related programs. For long, US health care costs for immigrants have been the subject of debate in the US.
The researchers studied data from the year 1999 till 2006 to find out the total health care costs including private, public and out-of-pocket spending for native citizens; adult naturalized citizens; and immigrant noncitizens including undocumented immigrants.
The study found that the US health care spending for natives was nearly 50 percent more than that for noncitizens. However, it admitted that the health care costs witnessed an increase among all groups for the period between 1999 till 2006.
As per the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, the per capita spending for noncitizens was only $1,904 as compared to $3,723 spent towards health care of native US citizens.
The fact that natives’ health care costs US much more than the noncitizens was further authenticated by the data from public heath care programs including CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program) and Medicaid.
By studying the figures for the eight year study period for the two above named programs, it was found that the per capita spending for immigrants was less in each year as compared with the per capita spending for US-born natives.
It may be mentioned here that before becoming eligible for receiving health care benefits under Medicaid, the immigrants must have spent at least five years in the US, as required by the 1996 Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act.
The lead author of the study and an assistant professor of social and behavioral sciences, University of North Texas Health Science Center, Fort Worth, Jim Stimpson, concluded in this study published in the online journal ‘Health Affairs’ that immigrants in the US are not the reason behind surging health care costs.