Health insurance among Californians with Mexican backgrounds

Self-identified Mexican adult immigrants in California have health insurance at 10% below the rate for the entire adult national population. Over 20% remain uninsured. This is after the Affordable Care Act gave many of them coverage and California worked diligently to expand coverage

California was an early adopter of the ACA’s Medicaid expansion, being one of the few states that received a waiver to begin the expansion in 2011. One of the main challenges that the state encountered with the ACA implementation was the health insurance eligibility among its foreign-born population, especially undocumented immigrants. California has the largest undocumented population in the country: Approximately one-quarter of all undocumented immigrants in the US live in the state.29 Our study showed that lack of legal status remains an important barrier to health insurance coverage and access to and use of health care in California.

Before the Affordable Care Act, 68% of self-identified Mexican adult immigrants in California (including U.S. born) had health insurance. After ACA’s implementation, 78% had insurance. (Mexican born persons account for about 80% of all Latin American adults.) Compare that with Puerto Ricans in California – 87% had insurance before, and 94% had insurance after.

In 2016, throughout the U.S. 88% of persons between 19 and 64 were insured. (Go here).

Nationwide, non-Latino whites in 2016 were 94% covered; blacks, 90%; Asians 92%; Latinos, 84%.

Two factors are associated with the lower rate for Mexicans: undocumented status and poor English. Third, lower income persons were less covered by insurance compared to higher income Mexicans.

From Health Affairs, September 2018

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