Medical Expenditures on and by Immigrant Populations in the United States

Topic Area: Immigrant health
Service: Applied Research

ICH Director of Research Leah Zallman contributed to a literature review published in the International Journal of Health Services, Planning, Administration and Evaluation, which aimed to compare health care expenditures of U.S. immigrants to those of U.S.-born individuals and evaluate the role which immigrants play in the rising cost of health care. The study systematically examined all post-2000, peer-reviewed studies in PubMed related to health care expenditures by immigrants written in English in the United States. The reviewers extracted data independently using a standardized approach. Immigrants’ overall expenditures were one-half to two-thirds those of U.S.-born individuals, across all assessed age groups, regardless of immigration status. Per capita expenditures from private and public insurance sources were lower for immigrants, particularly expenditures for undocumented immigrants. Immigrant individuals made larger out-of-pocket health care payments compared to U.S.-born individuals in all studies reviewed. This review study was featured in high profile newspaper articles throughout the country.