Healthcare for All

Of all AAPI-NHPI (Asian American Pacific Islander and Native Hawaiian Pacific Islander), Korean Americans and NHPIs have highest rate of being uninsured for health care.

There are approximately 200,000 undocumented Korean residents in the United States with Los Angeles having the largest share. Undocumented and uninsured.

“Korean Americans constitute the highest percentage of undocumented immigrants in the Asian American community, said Tom Wong, associate professor of political science at UC San Diego who served as an adviser to the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the Obama administration.”

We were trained by the Los Angeles County Department of Health as Community Navigators to give information sessions on how undocumented people can access healthcare and social services without fear of public charge.

“Data on undocumented and uninsured Korean Americans are scarce, but based on his research and an unpublished white paper for the state of California, Wong estimated there are 49,092 undocumented Koreans in California. About 30% don’t have health insurance, he said.”

According to Asian Health Services the rate of uninsurance among Korean business owners is 36% “That’s because Korean Americans have one of the highest — if not the highest — rates of uninsurance in the United States, at about 34 percent. It’s primarily due to the fact that so many are self-employed or work at small businesses. And those, like Choi, who are insured still face high deductibles and out-of-pocket expenses. She currently shells out about $1,600 a month to cover herself, and her husband, son, and mother.”

Data may be scarce and inconsistent, but as trusted community members we have relationships with undocumented Koreans in Los Angeles to disseminate information about healthcare and social services. We are trusted members of the BIPOC community in Los Angeles through our food distribution network and Susan Park, our diversity team leader.

“For example, Korean
and Vietnamese Americans are more likely to be self-employed – 9.5 percent for Korean Americans and 8.3
percent for Vietnamese Americans, compared to 5.2 percent for Asian Americans, 3.7 percent for NHPIs, and
6.4 percent for non-Hispanic Whites.6
Currently, only Korean Americans and NHPIs have double-digit
uninsured rates (10.0 percent and 12.3 percent respectively).”