"Health is a cornerstone of immigrant integration as much as education and learning English. If a family has health insurance for their children, then those children are in school learning and not home sick. Their parents don't have to miss work as often and can stabilize their family financially. Medical bills are the number-one cause for bankruptcy, so this is also about protecting the family against the financial difficulty that comes along with being uninsured."
Laura Hogan, Program Director, Access to Health Services, The California Endowment
When immigrants arrive in the United States, they are generally healthier than native-born residents. However, over time, their health conditions converge with those of the general population. Acculturation to American lifestyles and dietary habits may account for part of this change, but immigrants also face a number of barriers to maintaining good health. As a group, they are much less likely than citizens to have health insurance, resulting in less access to preventive services, fewer regular check-ups, and ultimately poorer health outcomes.[source] Even when newcomers are eligible for health insurance, they often face a variety of language, cultural, and immigration-related barriers that limit their access to quality care.
Foundations can support programs that expand both eligibility and access, as well as reduce barriers to health care for newcomers, including:
- Policy and advocacy projects to expand health insurance coverage for immigrants and their children.
- Outreach and informational campaigns to educate immigrants about the U.S. health care system, their eligibility for health care services, and healthy behaviors.
- Efforts to deliver health services to immigrants in a linguistically and culturally competent manner.
By supporting these strategies, foundations will promote good health for immigrant families and enable newcomers to contribute to the overall well-being of the broader community.