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Home > Funded Research Home > All > Sort by Author (A-Z) > LoSasso, Lurie, Buchmueller & Senesky

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Author: LoSasso, Anthony ; Lurie, Ithai ; Buchmueller, Thomas ; Senesky, Sarah
Working Paper: Immigrants and Employer-Provided Health Insurance (PDF) ; December 2004

Research Highlight 11 (HTML) (PDF) ; March 2006
Q & A with Anthony LoSasso, Ph.D. (HTML) ; March 2006
Research Findings (HTML)

The last two decades have seen a tremendous increase in immigration to the US. More immigrants came to live in the US in the 1990s than in any other decade in the nation’s history, even more than came at the turn of the previous century. Our paper investigates the factors underlying the lower rate of employer-sponsored health insurance coverage for foreign-born workers. A key feature of our analysis is that we decompose the effect of immigrant status on insurance coverage into effects on the probability of working for a firm that offers coverage, the probability of being eligible for such coverage, and the probability of take-up conditional on eligibility. There are three main findings from our analysis. First, consistent with prior studies, we find that the large difference in coverage rates for immigrants and native-born Americans is driven by the very low rates of coverage for non-citizen immigrants. Differences between native-born and naturalized citizens are quite small and for some outcomes are statistically insignificant when we control for observable characteristics. Second, our results indicate that the gap between natives and non-citizens is explained mainly by differences in the probability of working for a firm that offers insurance. Conditional on working for such a firm, non-citizens are only slightly less likely to be eligible for coverage and, when eligible, are only slightly less likely to take up coverage. Third, roughly two-thirds of the native/non-citizen gap in coverage overall and in the probability of working for an insurance-providing employer is explained by characteristics of the individual (e.g., education) and differences in the types of jobs they hold (e.g., non-union jobs in smaller firms).