Health Care Access by Immigrant Women--A Comparison of California, Florida and New York

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Virginia Tech

Recent data show that immigrant women in the U.S. are generally in poorer health than U.S.-born women and immigrant men , and many immigrant women encounter some difficulties in obtaining health care assistance, such as health insurance. Yet American researchers are only beginning to make a contribution to this area of scholarship. This thesis examines in detail the health status of immigrant women, the means by which immigrant women obtain health insurance, and several factors that are likely to influence their health care access.

I mainly examine the associations between three factors (public policy, employment status, and marital status) and access to health care assistance. I do so because employers and government-sponsored health care programs are both major insurance providers, and being married is an important factor in accounting for immigrant women's health insurance coverage. The project consists of case studies in three states — California, Florida and New York — using both qualitative and quantitative research methods. The data come from two rounds of the National Survey of America's Families (NSAF 1997 and NSAF 1999) and documentation of welfare reform rules. The results of this study demonstrate that all three factors contribute to immigrant women's health insurance coverage and that anti-immigrant sentiments are inadequate for explaining immigrants' health care circumstances.

health insurance, health care access, immigrant women