Health insurance instability among older immigrants: Region of origin disparities in coverage

Adriana M. Reyes, Melissa Hardy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Objectives. We provide a detailed analysis of how the dynamics of health insurance coverage (HIC) at older ages differs among Latino, Asian, and European immigrants in the United States. Method. Using Survey of Income and Program Participation data from the 2004 and 2008 panels, we estimate discrete-time event history models to examine first and second transitions into and out of HIC, highlighting substantial differences in hazard rates among immigrants aged 50-64 from Asia, Latin America, and Europe. Results. We find that the likelihood of having HIC at first observation and the rates of gaining and losing coverage within a relatively short time frame are least favorable for older Latino immigrants, although immigrants from all three regions are at a disadvantage relative to native-born non-Hispanic Whites. This disparity among immigrant groups persists even when lower rates of citizenship, greater difficulty with English, and low-skill job placements are taken into account. Discussion. Factors that have contributed to the lower rates and shorter durations of HIC among older immigrants, particularly those from Latin America, may not be easily resolved by the Affordable Care Act. The importance of region of origin and assimilation characteristics for the risk of being uninsured in later life argues that immigration and health care policy should be jointly addressed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)303-313
Number of pages11
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series B Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health(social science)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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