Health insurance, healthcare utilization and language use among populations who experience risk for tuberculosis, California 2014-2017

PLoS One. 2022 May 24;17(5):e0268739. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0268739. eCollection 2022.


Background: California tuberculosis (TB) prevention goals include testing more than ten million at-risk Californians and treating two million infected with tuberculosis. Adequate health insurance and robust healthcare utilization are crucial to meeting these goals, but information on these factors for populations that experience risk for TB is limited.

Methods: We used data from the 2014-2017 California Health Interview Survey (n = 82,758), a population-based dual-frame telephone survey to calculate survey proportions and 95% confidence intervals (CI) stratified by country of birth, focusing on persons from countries of birth with the highest number of TB cases in California. Survey proportions for recent doctor's visit, overall health, smoking, and diabetes were age-adjusted.

Results: Among 18-64 year-olds, 27% (CI: 25-30) of persons born in Mexico reported being uninsured in contrast with 3% (CI: 1-5) of persons born in India. Report of recent doctor's visit was highest among persons born in the Philippines, 84% (CI: 80-89) and lowest among Chinese-born persons, 70% (CI: 63-76). Persons born in Mexico were more likely to report community clinics as their usual source of care than persons born in China, Vietnam, or the Philippines. Poverty was highest among Mexican-born persons, 56% (CI: 54-58) and lowest among Indian-born persons, 9% (CI: 5-13). Of adults with a medical visit in a non-English language, 96% (CI: 96-97) were non-U.S.-born, but only 42% (CI: 40-44) of non-U.S.-born persons had a visit in a non-English language.

Discussion: Many, though not all, of the populations that experience risk for TB had health insurance and used healthcare. We found key differences in usual source of care and language use by country of birth which should be considered when planning outreach to specific providers, clinic systems, insurers and communities for TB prevention and case-finding.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Ambulatory Care Facilities
  • California / epidemiology
  • Delivery of Health Care
  • Humans
  • Insurance, Health
  • Language*
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care
  • Tuberculosis* / epidemiology
  • Tuberculosis* / therapy
  • United States

Grant support

The authors received no specific funding for this work.