Serving the home health, home care and hospice industry since 1999.

With all the talk this election cycle about immigrants, we thought it might be enlightening to reprint a report from the California Health Care Foundation about the impact of immigrants on health care, specifically on the insurance side of the business. Here is what they discovered, complete with the links to further research they provided.

Net gain for insurance companies

Immigrants in California, both those with legal status and the undocumented, contributed far more in premiums for private health insurance coverage between 2008 and 2014 than their insurers paid out for their care, according to new research we conducted at the Institute for Community Health. California immigrants were responsible for a net contribution of $27.7 billion to private insurers between 2008 and 2014, or an average of $4 billion per year. In contrast, US-born individuals contributed less in premiums during that period than what insurers paid for their care.

Our findings mirror national data published today in Health Affairs. From 2008 to 2014, immigrants in the US made $174 billion in net contributions to private insurers. Privately insured California immigrants were responsible for 15.8% of this national net contribution.

Much of the national debate over the financing of immigrant medical care has centered on uncompensated care and Medicaid, but a more complete understanding requires examination of private health insurance and Medicare. Previous studies published by the Journal of General Internal Medicine and Health Affairs demonstrate that immigrants contribute more than they withdraw from the Medicare Trust Fund, thus subsidizing Medicare.

One-Quarter of Californians Were Born Outside the US

In California, more than one in four residents — just over 10 million people — are immigrants. Eighty-two percent are working age (18 to 64 years old), and 44% are privately insured, meaning they obtain coverage through their jobs or purchase it directly from private insurers.

We knew from previous studies that immigrants, including undocumented immigrants, use less health care (including emergency care [PDF]) than US-born individuals.

Our new study looks at how much care immigrants in California receive and how much they contribute financially to private health insurance. We explored whether contributions to private health insurance through immigrants’ premiums and employers’ contributions on their behalf exceed the amount spent by private health insurers for their care. We used a previously published methodology that analyzed two nationally representative surveys. We analyzed these data to understand insurers’ expenses as well as individual and employer contributions to private health care coverage for immigrants and US-born individuals residing in California.


©2018 by Rowan Consulting Associates, Inc., Colorado Springs, CO. All rights reserved. This article originally appeared in Tim Rowan's Home Care Technology Report. One copy may be printed for personal use; further reproduction by permission only.