The Impact of Immigration on Health Insurance Coverage in the United States, 1994-2006

Source: Employee Benefit Research Institute, EBRI Notes, Vol. 29, No. 8, August 2008

From the executive summary:
• Research on immigration and the uninsured: Research is mixed on how immigration has contributed to the increase in the uninsured population: One study concluded that immigrants who arrived between 1994-1998 accounted for the majority of the growth in the uninsured population, but a similar study concluded that they are not a significant reason for the growth of the uninsured.

• Federal law contributes to uninsured immigrants: The relative lack of employment-based health coverage for immigrants is compounded by the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) of 1996, which imposed a five-year ban on receipt of health and other public programs by most newly arrived legal immigrants.

• Statistics on uninsured immigrants: More than 12 million immigrants in the United States were uninsured in 2006, accounting for almost 27 percent of all uninsured individuals in the country. Immigrants accounted for 43 percent of the increase in the uninsured between 1994-1998, but 92 percent of the growth between 1998-2003, presumably because of PRWORA restrictions. Over the entire 1994-2006 period, immigrants accounted for 55 percent of the increase in the uninsured. The ranks of the uninsured are likely to grow as immigration continues to increase.

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