Immigration and Utilisation of Preventive Healthcare in Europe: Results from Share Job Episodes Panel

Raluca Elena Buia, Department of Economics, Ca' Foscari University of Venice
Mesfin Genie, Ca' Foscari University of Venice
Cristina Elisa Orso , Department of Economics, University of Verona
Giacomo Pasini, University of Venice

Access to preventive healthcare is particularly important as it is a crucial determinant of future risk of chronic diseases. However, immigrants’ utilisation of preventive care may differ from that of non-immigrants/natives for various, interrelated factors, such as: familiarity with the health care system in the host country, needs for care, demographic, socioeconomic, regional and cultural factors, and their interaction with relevant institutional dimensions. Using the latest release of the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE), we estimate the effect of migration status and number of years since migration (a proxy for an assimilation effect) on the utilisation of major preventive healthcare services (including dental, blood pressure, and gynaecological check-ups, mammograms, blood, and vision tests) in Europe. We find a statistically significant and negative effect of migration on the utilisation of major preventive care services, except for dental check-ups, indicating that migrants are less likely to use preventive health care services. However, the probability of utilisation of preventive care increases with an increase in the number of years since migration and diminishes after a certain point, suggesting the presence of a possible assimilation effect. Moreover, cultural differences, referral habits in the country of origin, language barriers, and discrimination are possible factors that should not be overlooked. Since the heavy burden (both individual and social) of chronic diseases can be reduced significantly through a proper, more frequent, use of preventive care, our analysis suggests that future studies should try to disentangle these dimensions to design more prudent policy measures.

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 Presented in Session 64. Immigrants' Health