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Immigrant Family Among other things, the complexities of health and insurance systems are likely more difficult to navigate when language barriers exist. (Photo: Shutterstock)

Language barriers may lead to significant inequities in health care delivery, a new report suggests. The study, published in Health Affairs, found that Spanish-speaking Americans received about one-third less care (based on spending) as compared to patients whose primary language is English.

“During 2014–18 mean annual per capita expenditures were $1,463 (35 percent) lower for Hispanic adults with limited English proficiency than for Hispanic adults who were English proficient,” the report’s authors wrote. “Hispanic adults with limited English proficiency also made fewer outpatient and emergency department visits, had fewer inpatient days, and received fewer prescription medications than Hispanic adults who were English proficient.” In addition, the researchers found that the gap in care has widened in recent years.

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