One of every seven workers in the US is foreign-born.
About half are Hispanic and a quarter Asian. About a third of the foreign born workers are undocumented.
We’ll leave aside the problems with immigration regulation, drivers thereof, lazy Americans, and all the rest of the and focus on the impact of these foreign-born folks on workers’ comp.
Today’s WorkCompWire features a piece by friend and colleague Peter Rousmaniere on the subject; Peter’s been tracking this very closely for years, and is the most knowledgeable person I know on the subject. Here’s a key passage:
When you estimate the number of future work injuries, taking into account the injury rates of the individual jobs and their expected growth of openings, you find that immigrant workers will likely sustain 20% — one of every five – of work injuries. (emphasis added)
Here are just a few of the implications I see; as the acknowledged expert Peter’s got a much deeper and broader perspective.
- Most of these workers likely won’t know much about the US health care system or workers’ comp, and will get that information from people they know and trust – their fellow countrymen.
- Many may not have primary care physicians, so will seek care at the most convenient/nearest location.
- The language issues are both obvious and subtle; even those with passable English skills may not fully grasp what they’re hearing and reading, leading to mis-interpretations and misunderstanding.
With the share of jobs held by first-generation immigrants going to increase steadily for the foreseeable future, payers and service companies alike are going to have to alter their practices to accommodate an evolving workforce.
What does this mean for you?
Recognizing the reality will be much more productive than ranting about it.