Barriers to health care among Asian immigrants in the United States: a traditional review

J Health Care Poor Underserved. 2013 Feb;24(1):384-403. doi: 10.1353/hpu.2013.0019.


Asian immigrants in the U.S. are far less likely to have health insurance or use health care services than both U.S.-born Asians and non-Hispanic Whites. Furthermore, Asian immigrants who access the U.S. health care system are less likely than non-Hispanic Whites to receive high-quality services. This paper reviews four barriers faced by Asian immigrants to participating in the U.S. health care system fully: (1) linguistic discordance between providers and patients; (2) health-related beliefs and cultural incompetency of health systems; (3) issues related to accessing health services; and (4) discrimination in the health care system. Interventions to improve the health of Asian immigrants must address barriers experienced at multiple levels, including those that occur interpersonally and institutionally, as well as broader societal factors that affect health care access and quality.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Asia / ethnology
  • Culture
  • Emigrants and Immigrants / statistics & numerical data*
  • Health Services Accessibility* / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Language
  • Prejudice
  • United States / epidemiology