Immigrants’ contributions to private health insurance

Client: California Health Care Foundation
Topic Areas: Advocacy and policy; Social determinants and immigrant health
Services: Applied Research, Data Services

Building on work done with Medicare contributions and expenditures, we aimed to understand immigrants’ and US-born individuals’ contributions, private-insurers’ expenditures, and net contributions to private health insurance. Using two nationally representative databases, we determined private health insurance expenditures and individual premiums and extracted information about employer contributions to private insurance premiums. We tabulated private health insurance contributions, insurers’ expenditures, and net contributions for immigrants and US-born individuals. Results showed that immigrants paid $88.7 billion in private insurance premiums but only used $63 billion in insurer-paid health care, resulting in a $24.7 billion surplus in 2014. This dispels the common myth that immigrants drive up health care costs. The study was published in Health Affairs in October 2018.