12 Mar Recent Older Immigrants May Rely on Public Health Insurance
MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Adan Z. Becerra PhD
Senior Epidemiologist for the NIH
Social and Scientific Systems
Washington, District Of Columbia
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?
Response: Previous studies have shown that disparities in insurance coverage by immigration status exist in the United States such that immigrants compared to nonimmigrants are less likely to have insurance. However, most studies have been cross sectional with few studies investigating long term trajectories of insurance coverage over time. We addressed this gap in the literature by following a cohort of adults for 24 years from before until after reaching Medicare age-eligibility.
MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?
Response: We found that among a cohort of US adults aged 51-61 at baseline, recent immigrants compared to nonimmigrants were 15% less likely to have health insurance but this disparity was eliminated over the 24 year follow-up period (from 1992 to 2016) due to uptake of public insurance among all participants.
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: While disparities in insurance coverage by immigration status exist, our results suggest that these disparities may be alleviated by providing access to public insurance programs such as Medicare and Medicaid. This suggests that recent immigrant older adults may rely on public insurance programs as a safety net to achieve equitable insurance coverage as compared to nonimmigrants.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?
Response: Future studies should continue to investigate potential policy reforms that increase access to insurance coverage and decrease disparities among vulnerable populations such as recent immigrant older adults.
This study was initiated when the senior author, Dr. Adan Z. Becerra, was a PhD Student at the University of Rochester. He is now employed at Social and Scientific Systems, which was not involved with the study.
Cobian J, González MG, Cao YJ, et al. Changes in Health Insurance Coverage Over Time by Immigration Status Among US Older Adults, 1992-2016. JAMA Netw Open. 2020;3(3):e200731. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2020.0731
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