, Volume 16, Issue 3, pp 735-743

Generational Status, Health Insurance, and Public Benefit Participation Among Low-Income Latino Children

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Abstract

The objectives of this study were to (1) measure health insurance coverage and continuity across generational subgroups of Latino children, and (2) determine if participation in public benefit programs is associated with increased health insurance coverage and continuity. We analyzed data on 25,388 children income-eligible for public insurance from the 2003 to 2004 National Survey of Children’s Health and stratified Latinos by generational status. First- and second-generation Latino children were more likely to be uninsured (58 and 19%, respectively) than third-generation children (9.5%). Second-generation Latino children were similarly likely to be currently insured by public insurance as third-generation children (61 and 62%, respectively), but less likely to have private insurance (19 and 29%, respectively). Second-generation Latino children were slightly more likely than third-generation children to have discontinuous insurance during the year (19 and 15%, respectively). Compared with children in families where English was the primary home language, children in families where English was not the primary home language had higher odds of being uninsured versus having continuous insurance coverage (OR: 2.19; 95% CI [1.33–3.62]). Among second-generation Latino children, participation in the Food Stamp (OR 0.26; 95% CI [0.14–0.48]) or Women, Infants, and Children (OR 0.40; 95% CI [0.25–0.66]) programs was associated with reduced odds of being uninsured. Insurance disparities are concentrated among first- and second-generation Latino children. For second-generation Latino children, connection to other public benefit programs may promote enrollment in public insurance.