Health Insurance and Health Care Use among Older Mexican Immigrants in the U.S.: Comparison with Their Origin-Country Counterparts

Rebeca Wong, University of Maryland
Juan José Diaz, University of Maryland
Monica Espinoza, Princeton University

We seek to inform public policy on the health behaviors of old age Mexican immigrants to the U.S. by comparing patterns of health care utilization in the U.S. and Mexico. We highlight the role of health insurance in the propensity to have doctor visits and hospitalizations, controlling for aspects of economic and socio-demographic characteristics and health. We find that the elderly of Mexican origin are more likely to be hospitalized in the U.S. than those in Mexico regardless of health insurance. However, in the absence of health insurance, visits to the doctor are more likely in Mexico than the U.S. The results indicate that availability of health insurance encourages Mexicans in the U.S. to visit a doctor to a larger extent than it does in Mexico, while it enables Mexicans in Mexico to be hospitalized to a greater extent than it does in the U.S.

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Presented in Session 70: Public Policy and International Migration