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Report: Immigrants not healthcare burden
Paper cites research that says their average medical costs about half that of U.S.-born citizens.
July 26, 2005: 8:36 AM EDT

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - New research has dashed the "myth" that immigrants place a major burden on America's healthcare system, according to a news report.

Immigrants use about half the medical care used by U.S.-born Americans, according to The Miami Herald on Tuesday, which cited a report from Harvard researchers.

Hispanic immigrants averaged $962 in annual healthcare costs, half the $1,870 in healthcare costs for a U.S.-born Hispanic, according to the Herald, which took its statistics from the August issue of the American Journal of Public Health.

The average annual healthcare cost for a black non-Hispanic immigrant was $1,030, less than half the $2,524 average for a U.S.-born non-Hispanic black, the report said. White non-Hispanic immigrants averaged $1,747, compared to the $3,117 for U.S.-born whites.

"They're not accessing care because they're afraid of the costs," Art Fornier, associate dean of community health at the University of Miami medical school, told the Herald. "It's a myth that they get free care."

The immigrants are often uninsured and, while they typically shun preventative treatment, they end up paying for it in emergency room visits. The study said that ER costs for immigrants are three times higher than costs for U.S.-born children.

Overall, the average immigrant used $1,139 in annual healthcare, compared to the $2,546 for someone born in the U.S., the report said.


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