Health Insurance and Length of Stay in the United States: An Analysis of Refugee Resettlement Outcomes
Kilpatrick, Kara J
Although they are a generally healthy population, refugees in the United States often face conditions – both pre- and post-resettlement – that may place them at increased risk for certain health conditions. This is concerning, given that lawfully present immigrants often have substantially lower rates of health insurance than native citizens, and because refugees in particular tend to struggle to obtain insurance. Previous research suggests that, among immigrants in general, longer stays in the U.S. are positively associated with the probability of being insured. However, virtually nothing is known about the relationship between length of stay and health insurance status among refugees. This thesis addresses that gap in the literature, using data from the 2017 Annual Survey of Refugees to examine the extent to which a refugee’s length of stay in the U.S. is related to her likelihood of being insured. In contrast to existing research, my findings suggest that, the longer a refugee is in the U.S., the less likely she is to have health insurance. I also find that this negative relationship is stronger among refugees who have yet to apply for permanent resident status.
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