Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health

, Volume 10, Issue 3, pp 247–254 | Cite as

The Effect of Parental Immigration Authorization on Health Insurance Coverage for Migrant Latino Children

  • Andrea C. Weathers
  • Cynthia S. Minkovitz
  • Marie Diener-West
  • Patricia O’Campo
Original Paper


Objective: To examine if immigration authorization among parents is associated with health insurance coverage for migrant Latino children. Data Source: A cross-sectional household survey of 300 migrant families for which one child, aged <13 years, was randomly selected. Results: Most children lacked insurance (73%) and had unauthorized parents (77%). Having an authorized parent or parental stay of more than 5 years in the US were each positively associated with children’s health insurance coverage [OR: 4.9; 95% CI: (2.7–8.7) and [OR = 6.7; 95% CI: (3.8–12.0), respectively]. The effect of parental authorization did not persist in multivariable logistic regression analysis; however, more than 5 years of parental stay in the US remained associated with children’s insurance coverage [OR = 4.8; 95% CI (1.8–12.2)], regardless of parental authorization. Conclusion: Increased parental familiarity with US health and/or social services agencies, rather than parental authorization status, is important to obtaining health insurance for migrant children. Efforts to insure eligible migrant children should focus on recently arrived families.


Child health Health insurance Immigrants Latino health 


  1. 1.
    Carrasquillo O, Carrasquillo AI, Shea S. Health insurance coverage of immigrants living in the United States: differences by citizenship status and country of origin. Am J Public Health 2000;90(6):917–23.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Ojeda VD, Brown RE. Mind the gap: Parents’ citizenship as predictor of latino children’s health insurance. J Health Care Poor Underserved 2005;16:555–75.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Brown ER, Wyn R, Ojeda VD. Noncitizen children’s rising uninsured rates threaten access to health care [Policy Brief]: UCLA Center for Health Policy Research; 1999 June.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Ku L, Matani S. Left out: immigrants’ access to health care and insurance. Health Aff (Millwood) 2001;20(1):247–56.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Hernandez DF, Charney E. From generation to generation: the health and well-being of children in immigrant families. Washington, DC: National Academy Press; 1998.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Passel JS. The size and characteristics of the unauthorized migrant population in the U.S. Washington, D.C.: Pew Hispanic Center; 2006.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Passel JS. Unauthorized migrants: numbers and characteristics. Washington, D.S.: Pew Hispanic Center; 2005.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Weinick RM, Weigers ME, Cohen JW. Children’s health insurance, access to care, and health status: new findings. Health Aff 1998;17(2):127–36.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Newacheck P, Stoddard JJ, Hughes D, Pearl M. Health insurance and access to primary care for children. New England Journal of Medicine 1998;338(8):513–9.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Newacheck PW, McManus M, Fox HB, Hung Y-Y, Halfon N. Access to health care for children with special health care needs. Pediatrics 2000;105(4):760–6.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Olson L, Tang S, Newacheck P. Children in the United States with discontinuous health insurance coverage. N Engl J Med 2005;353:382–91.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Honberg L, McPherson M, Strickland B, Gage J, Newacheck P. Assuring adequate health insurance: results of the national survey of children with special health care needs. Pediatrics 2005;115:1233–9.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Stoddard JJ, St. Peter RF, Newacheck PW. Health insurance status and ambulatory care for children. N Engl J Med 1994;330(20):1421–5.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Berk ML, Schur CL, Chavez LR, Frankel M. Health care use among undocumented Latino immigrants. Health Aff (Millwood) 2000;19(4):51–64.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Frates J, Diringer J, Hogan L. Models and momentum for insuring low-income, undocumented immigrant children in California. Health Aff 2003;22(1):259–3.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Halfon N, Wood DL, Valdez RB, Pereyra M, Duan N. Medicaid enrollment and health services access by Latino children in inner-city Los Angeles. JAMA 1997;277(8):636–41.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Seid M, Castaneda D, Mize R, Mirjana Z, Varni J. Crossing the border for health care: access and primary care characteristics for young children of Latino farm workers along the US-Mexico border. Ambul Pediatr 2003;3:121–30.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Prentice JC, Pebley AR, Sastry N. Immigration Status and Health Insurance Coverage: Who gains? Who loses? Am J Public Health 2005;95(1):109–16.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Geltman PA, Meyers AF. Immigration legal status and use of public programs and prenatal care. J Immigr Minor Health 1999;1(2):91–7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Andersen R, Newman J. Societal and individual determinants of medical care utilization in the United States. Milbank Mem Fund Q 1973;51(Winter):95.Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    National Migrant Resource Program. Recommendations of the National Advisory Council on Migrant Health. Austin, Texas: National Center for Farmworker Health, Inc; 1993.Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Mehta K, Gabbard S, Barrat V, Lewis M, Carroll D, Mines R. Findings from the National Agricultural Workers Survey (NAWS) 1997–1998: United States Department of Labor. Research Report No. 8. March 2000. Available at: Accessed 27 Mar 2007.
  23. 23.
    Leone LP, Johnston HL. agricultural migrants and public health. migrant farm workers in the united states: briefings of the commission on security and cooperation in Europe. Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office; 1994.Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Johnston HL. Health for the Nation’s Harvesters: a history of the migrant health program in its economic and social setting. Farmington Hills, MI.; 1985.Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Taylor Edward J, Martin Philip L, Michael F. Poverty amid prosperity: immigration and the changing face of rural California. Washington, DC: The Urban Institute Press; 1997.Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Villarejo D, Lighthall D, Williams D III, Souter A, Mines R, Bade B, et al. Suffering in silence: a report on the health of California’s agricultural workers. Davis, California: California Institute for Rural Studies; 2000.Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    U.S. Department of Labor Report to Congress. The agricultural labor market: status and recommendations. 2000. Available at: Accessed 27 Mar 2007.
  28. 28.
    Weathers A, Minkovitz C, O’Campo P, Diener-West M. Access to care for children of migratory agricultural workers: factors associated with unmet need for health care. Pediatrics 2004;113:e276.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    United States Code. Title 42, The Pbulic Health and Welfare, Chapeter 6A (Public Health Service), Subchapter II, Part D, Subpart i, Section 254b.Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Aday LA. Designing and conducting health surveys: a comprehensive guide. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass; 1989.Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    Bloom B, Tonthat L. Summary health statistics for U.S. children: national health interview survey 1997. Vital Health Stat 10 2002 Jan;(203):1–46.Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    Mines R, Gabbard S, Steirman A. A profile of U.S. farm workers: demographics, household composition, income and use of services. Washington, DC: US Department of Labor. URL: Accessed 27 Mar 2007; 1997.
  33. 33.
    StataCorp. Stata Statistical Software. 7th ed. College Station, TX: Stat Corporation; 2001.Google Scholar
  34. 34.
    Weathers A, Minkovitz C, O’Campo P, Diener-West M. The utilization of health services by the children of migratory agricultural workers: exploring the role of need for care. Pediatrics 2003;111(5):956–63.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    dela Cruz FA, Padilla GV, Agustin EO. Adapting a measure of acculturation for cross-cultural research. J Transcult Nurs 2000;11(3):191–8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. 36.
    Hunt LM, Schneider S, Comer B. Should “acculturation” be a variable in health research? A critical review of research on US Hispanics. Social Sci Med 2004;59(5):973–86.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. 37.
    Yu SM, Huang ZJ, Schwalberg RH, Overpeck M, Kogan MD. Acculturation and the Health and Well-being of U.S. Immigrant Adolescents. J Adolesc Health 2003;33:479–88.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. 38.
    Asch S, Leake B, Gelbert L. Does fear of immigration authorities deter tuberculosis patients from seeking care? West J Med 1994;1994(161):373–6.Google Scholar
  39. 39.
    Staiti AB, Hurley HE, AK. Stretching the safety net to serve undocumented immigrants: community responses to health needs. Issue Brief No. 104. Washington, DC: Center for Studying Health System Change; 2006.Google Scholar
  40. 40.
    Palloni A, Morenoff J. Interpreting the Paradoxical in the Hispanic Paradox: Demographic and Epidemiologic Approaches. Ann NY Acad Sci 2001;954(1):140–74.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andrea C. Weathers
    • 1
  • Cynthia S. Minkovitz
    • 2
  • Marie Diener-West
    • 3
  • Patricia O’Campo
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Maternal and Child HealthThe University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, School of Public HealthChapel HillUSA
  2. 2.Department of PopulationFamily and Reproductive Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public HealthBaltimoreUSA
  3. 3.Department of BiostatisticsJohns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public HealthBaltimoreUSA
  4. 4.University of Toronto & Centre for Research on Inner City Health, St. Michael’s HospitalTorontoCanada

Personalised recommendations