Trends in Disparities in Low-Income Children's Health Insurance Coverage and Access to Care by Family Immigration Status.

Objectives

To examine time trends in disparities in low-income children's health insurance coverage and access to care by family immigration status.

Methods

We used data from the National Survey of Children's Health in 2003 to 2011-2012, including 83,612 children aged 0 to 17 years with family incomes <200% of the federal poverty level. We examined 3 immigration status categories: citizen children with non-immigrant parents; citizen children with immigrant parents; and immigrant children. We used multi-variable regression analyses to obtain adjusted trends in health insurance coverage and access to care.

Results

All low-income children experienced gains in health insurance coverage and access to care from 2003 to 2011-2012, regardless of family immigration status. Relative to citizen children with non-immigrant parents, citizen children with immigrant parents had a 5 percentage point greater increase in health insurance coverage (P = .06), a 9 percentage point greater increase in having a personal doctor or nurse (P < .01), and an 11 percentage point greater increase in having no unmet medical need (P < .01). Immigrant children had significantly lower health insurance coverage than other groups. However, the group had a 14 percentage point greater increase in having a personal doctor or nurse (P < .01) and a 26 percentage point greater increase in having no unmet medical need (P < .01) relative to citizen children with non-immigrant parents.

Conclusions

Some disparities in access to care related to family immigration status have lessened over time among children in low-income families, although large disparities still exist. Policy efforts are needed to ensure that children of immigrant parents and immigrant children are able to access health insurance and health care.

Jarlenski M, Baller J, Borrero S, Bennett W. Trends in Disparities in Low-Income Children’s Health Insurance Coverage and Access to Care by Family Immigration Status. Academic Pediatrics. 2016; 16(2): 208-215. PMID: 26329016

Date Published

April 2016