Medicare Advantage Enrollment by Immigration and English Proficiency Status

Sungchul Park, David J. Meyers, Maricruz Rivera-Hernandez, Arturo Vargas Bustamante

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


OBJECTIVES: Complex Medicare Advantage (MA) health plan choices may overwhelm immigrants, especially for those facing decision-making constraints due to limited English proficiency (LEP). We examined the trends and patterns of MA enrollment by immigration and English proficiency status. STUDY DESIGN: We employed a cross-sectional design using data from the 2008-2019 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey. METHODS: Our outcome was enrollment in an MA plan. Our primary independent variables were immigration and English proficiency status. We categorized the sample into 3 groups: LEP immigrants, non-LEP immigrants, and US-born residents. After adjusting for individual-level characteristics, we estimated the adjusted rates of MA enrollment for each group. RESULTS: Our adjusted analysis showed that MA enrollment was higher among immigrants than US-born residents, but the highest enrollment was found among LEP immigrants (LEP immigrants: 45.5%; 95% CI, 42.7%-48.2%; non-LEP immigrants: 42.1%; 95% CI, 39.4%-44.8%; US-born residents: 35.1%; 95% CI, 34.5%-35.6%). MA enrollment was higher among LEP immigrants with better health status (good self-reported health: 45.4%; 95% CI, 41.9%-48.8%; poor self-reported health: 41.4%; 95% CI, 37.7%-45.1%). However, we found small to no differences in the adjusted rates of MA enrollment between those with good vs poor self-reported health in both the non-LEP immigrants and US-born residents groups. We found no consistent enrollment patterns by socioeconomic status such as race/ ethnicity, education, and income. CONCLUSIONS: Our findings suggest higher MA enrollment among immigrants, especially for LEP immigrants. Future research should study the care experience of immigrants in MA.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E280-E283
JournalAmerican Journal of Managed Care
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2023

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