Cross-border health care utilization among the Hispanic population in the United States: implications for closing the health care access gap

Ethn Health. 2013;18(3):297-314. doi: 10.1080/13557858.2012.730610. Epub 2012 Oct 8.


Objectives: To examine predictors of health care service utilization in Mexico or any other country in Latin America among the U.S. Hispanic population.

Methods: This study used data from the 2007 Pew Hispanic Healthcare Survey, a nationally representative survey of 4013 Hispanic adults. Using the Behavioral Model of Health Service Use (BMHSU) model, we examined three levels of predictive factors: (1) predisposing characteristics (e.g., language proficiency), (2) enabling resources (e.g., health insurance status), and (3) need (e.g., self-perceived health status). Multivariate logistic regression analyses were conducted to predict odds of seeking health care services in Mexico or any other country in Latin America.

Results: As hypothesized, lack of continuous health insurance coverage, perceived lack of quality health care, and low English proficiency increased the likelihood of seeking health care in Mexico or any other Latin American country among US Hispanic adults. Self-reported health status and usual source of care, however, were not significant predictors.

Conclusions: Hispanic immigrants face critical access gaps to health care in the United States. Implications for closing the access gap for this population are discussed within the context of health care system reform and immigration reform in the United States.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Communication Barriers
  • Delivery of Health Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Health Services Accessibility
  • Hispanic or Latino*
  • Humans
  • Insurance, Health / statistics & numerical data
  • Latin America
  • Male
  • Mexico
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care*
  • United States
  • Young Adult