Elderly Filipino Americans, like other ethnic minorities in the US, are not exempt from the disparities within the health care system. Data from the California Health Interview Survey showed that lack of health insurance is a major factor that prevents elderly Asian Americans, including Filipino Americans, from accessing mental health care. Less educated foreign-born older adults and those without US citizenship were more likely not to have health insurance (Mold, Fryer, & Thomas, 2004). Lack of mobility and poor English language proficiency are also two major barriers to health access (Trinh- Shevrin, 2009).
Health care access, utilization, and assimilation in the US health care delivery system can be very challenging for ethnic elderly minorities, including Filipinos, particularly for the newly arrived immigrants. In addition to financial constraints, lack of or minimal English proficiency and tenacious adherence to their own cultural and health beliefs can create a barrier to health care utilization. Immigrating to a new country can precipitate a stressful life event for the elderly. They tend to rely on their families for support since the majority of them are not eligible for government health care funds and social security benefits (Gorospe, 2006).