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Immigrants’ Barriers to Healthcare Access


At the moment, migrant workers are one of the major concerns of the U.S. government. The fact is that people who come to the state to earn money are very often deprived of social protection and are not able to use health care services. The problem is complicated by the fact that access to health care in rural areas across the USA remains a significant issue that deteriorates the state of the health of the nation. In such a way, migrant workers might face several barriers to health care that will result in their inability to perform particular tasks and earn money. A significant scale of the problem is evidenced by the number of immigrants who come to the USA trying to improve their living conditions or help their families. That is why the problem requires a comprehensive investigation.

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Barriers to Health Care

National Policies

Thus, the existing national policies are the first most common barrier migrant workers might face in the USA (Hacker, Anies, Folb, & Zallman, 2015). The existing legal environment denies access to health insurance and deprives immigrants of the opportunity to obtain the needed treatment. Additionally, caregivers might be reluctant to provide healthcare services to immigrants because of the fear of criminal procedures or penalties that could be applied to them (Hacker et al., 2015).

Health System

The second most common challenge immigrants might face is the health system and its peculiarities like high costs of needed services, discrimination, and numerous bureaucratic requirements (Hacker et al., 2015). In numerous cases, migrant workers are not able to visit a hospital because health care is offered during their work hours (Hacker et al., 2015). Additionally, trying to earn money, immigrants are not able to pay for particular services as they remain expensive.


Finally, there are numerous individual barriers that people who belong to this category face. For instance, their illegal status might prevent them from going to the hospital because of the fear of deportation (Wafula & Snipes, 2014). Immigrants prefer to wait until their state of health becomes critical, and it is impossible to avoid going to the hospital.

These three factors could be considered the main barriers migrant workers face in our community.

Ways to Improve the Situation

Nevertheless, the existence of the barriers mentioned above significantly deteriorates the state of the health of this group of population and preconditions the appearance of new more complicated health problems. For this reason, it is crucial to intervene to eliminate them. First, a community health nurse could communicate with migrant workers and explain the necessity of going to the hospital in case a health problem occurs. The fear of deportation should not prevent them from obtaining the needed care as disregarding the problem individuals might become disabled and lose a job. Additionally, immigrants could be assisted in their attempts to consult with a specialist and meet all bureaucratic requirements. As stated above, the inability to understand demands and fill particular blanks could distract workers from using healthcare services. Finally, a community nurse should educate immigrants about the current legal environment and their rights as it is the key to a better understanding of the issue and elimination of some barriers.


Altogether, the problem of care delivery to migrant workers remains topical as there are a political, health system, and individual barriers which might prevent them from obtaining needed services. For this reason, a community nurse should be ready to assist immigrants in their attempts to eliminate these obstacles by educating them and demonstrating the increased necessity of visiting hospitals.

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Hacker, K., Anies, M., Folb, B., & Zallman, L. (2015). Barriers to health care for undocumented immigrants: a literature review. Risk Management and Healthcare Policy, 8, 175-183. Web.

Wafula, E., & Snipes, S. (2014). Barriers to health care access faced by black immigrants in the US: Theoretical considerations and recommendations. Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health, 16(4), 689-698. Web.

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