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Six of 10 Non-Citizen Hispanics Lack Health Insurance

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AHRQ News and Numbers

Release date: October 17, 2006

While more than one-third of Hispanics under 65 years of age do not have health insurance, the portion without insurance among those who are not U.S. citizens is far larger—nearly two-thirds—according to a new report by the Department of Health and Human Services' Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).

By comparison, about a quarter of Hispanics who are U.S. citizens are uninsured.

AHRQ's report, based on a 2004 survey, examines public and private insurance coverage among Hispanics overall and among three subgroups—Mexican-Americans, Puerto Ricans and “other Hispanics.” The latter category primarily includes persons of Cuban, Dominican, South or Central American, or Spanish birth or descent.

The report, which analyzed the insurance status of Hispanics under 65 years of age, showed that:

  • Sixty-seven percent of non-citizen Mexican-Americans are uninsured.
  • For other non-citizen Hispanics, 50.5 percent are uninsured.
  • Sixteen percent of Puerto Ricans living in the United States are uninsured. Virtually all Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens.
  • Among Hispanics overall, about 12 percent of non-citizens have public health insurance, such as Medicaid. The rate is about 30 percent for those who are U.S. citizens.
  • Puerto Ricans have the highest public-only insurance rate—about 38 percent. The rate is approximately 24 and 21 percent, respectively, for Mexican-Americans and other Hispanics.
  • Non-citizen Mexican-Americans are almost three times less likely to have public-only coverage than their citizen counterparts—11.5 percent versus approximately 30 percent. The corresponding numbers for other Hispanics are roughly 12 percent and 26 percent, respectively.

AHRQ works to enhance America's health care system by developing and promoting evidence to improve quality, efficiency, effectiveness, and safety. The data in this AHRQ News and Numbers summary are taken from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS), the nation's most complete survey of how Americans use and pay for health care, including their health insurance coverage.

For more information, access MEPS Statistical Brief No. 143: Health Insurance Status of Hispanic Subpopulations in 2004: Estimates for the U.S. Civilian Noninstitutionalized Population under Age 65 (PDF Help).

To speak with an AHRQ data expert, please contact Bob Isquith at or call (301) 427-1539.

Current as of October 2006.


The information on this page is archived and provided for reference purposes only.


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