Immigrants and the Use of Preventive Care in the United States
Using data from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, we compare immigrants' use of preventive care with that of natives. We employ a multinomial switching regression framework that accounts for non-random selection into continuous private insurance, temporary private insurance, public insurance, and no insurance. Our results indicate that among the populations with continuous private coverage and without coverage (uninsured), immigrants, especially non-citizens, are less likely to use preventive care than natives. We find that the longer immigrants stay in the US the more their use of care approximates to that of natives. However, for most types of care, immigrants' use of care never fully converges to that of natives. Among the publicly insured population, immigrants' use of care is similar to natives, but non-citizen immigrants are significantly less likely to use preventive measures. We find that the ability to speak English does not have a significant effect on the use of preventive care among publicly insured persons.