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New Study Finds Immigrants Pay More in Private Insurance Premiums Than They Receive In Benefits

November 01, 2018 (1 min read)

Leah Zallman, M.D., MPH., Oct. 31, 2018 - "Published in the October edition of Health Affairs, findings from our study using nationally representative data show that immigrants heavily subsidize private insurance of US-born enrollees and boost profits of private insurers.

As we presented at AcademyHealth’s Annual Research Meeting in June of 2018we found immigrants’ premiums totaled $88.7 billion in 2014, while private insurers’ expenditures for their care totaled $64.0 billion (detailed in the image below). Hence, immigrants (and their employers) paid $24.7 billion more in premiums than insurers paid for immigrants’ care.

... Much of the debate over the financing of immigrants’ medical care has centered on uncompensated care and Medicaid, but a more complete understanding requires an examination of private health insurance and Medicare. Our findings contradict assertions that people born in the US are systematically subsidizing the medical care of immigrants, particularly those who are undocumented. Indeed, these findings suggest that policies curtailing immigration could reduce the numbers of “actuarially desirable” people with private insurance, thereby weakening the risk pool."