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Over half of Hispanics who are not U.S. citizens are uninsured

More than one-third of Hispanics under 65 years of age do not have health insurance. Hispanics who are not U.S. citizens are more than twice as likely to be uninsured as those who are citizens.

A new report by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), 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, showed that:

  • Sixty-seven percent of non-citizen Mexican-Americans are uninsured. For other non-citizen Hispanics, the percentage is 50.5 percent.
  • 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 3 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.

These data are from AHRQ's 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, go to Health Insurance Status of Hispanic Subpopulations in 2004: Estimates for the U.S. Civilian Noninstitutionalized Population under Age 65, MEPS Statistical Brief #143 at [PDF file; PDF Help]

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