Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health

, Volume 11, Issue 3, pp 222–228

An Urban School Based Comparative Study of Experiences and Perceptions Differentiating Public Health Insurance Eligible Immigrant Families with and without Coverage for their Children

Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s10903-008-9132-8

Cite this article as:
Rhee, Y., Belmonte, F. & Weiner, S.J. J Immigrant Minority Health (2009) 11: 222. doi:10.1007/s10903-008-9132-8


Introduction We explore why some low income immigrant families enroll in government financed health insurance plans for their children, while others also eligible do not enroll. Methods Our team conducted and analyzed audiotaped semi-structured interviews with families of 8 insured and 10 uninsured children focused on knowledge of and experience with seeking health insurance coverage. Results Common among families not enrolled in government sponsored plans were misperceptions about the insurance system, including a suspicion of the government monitoring them and/or lack of familiarity with the concept of insurance itself. Among families that did enroll, the predominant theme was the essential role of their sponsor, other kin or community in educating and assisting them with the application process. Conclusions Prior research has identified external obstacles to enrollment. Our findings indicate the additional importance of facilitating social support, particularly from sponsors in mentoring new arrivals through the process of seeking insurance coverage.


UninsuredImmigrant healthHealth services researchChildren

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Illinois at Chicago College of MedicineChicagoUSA
  2. 2.Lutheran General Children’s HospitalPark RidgeUSA
  3. 3.Maine East High SchoolPark RidgeUSA
  4. 4.Department of PediatricsUniversity of Illinois at ChicagoChicagoUSA
  5. 5.VA Center for the Management of Complex Chronic CareChicagoUSA