Health insurance for undocumented immigrants: opportunities and barriers on the Mexican side of the US border


A. Arredondo, National Institute of Public Health—Mexico Av Univ 655, Cuernavaca, México. E-mail:



This article aims to identify opportunities, barriers and challenges in Mexico's policy networks for the development of healthcare programs for undocumented migrants in the USA and their families.


We used policy analysis, in-depth interviews and a case study. Key stakeholders at the federal, state and municipal levels in one major migrant-sending state were interviewed. We also conducted an in-depth case study of one community to obtain the perceptions of local health workers, migrant families and local nongovernmental organizations.


Findings identified opportunities and barriers involving the stakeholders, institutions, social interactions and types of relationships necessary for further progress on binational policies. There was wide interest in creating binational health insurance with different degrees of potential involvement by political actors and variation in local actors' willingness to be covered by some type of health insurance scheme.


The use of the opportunities to overcome barriers depends on the identification of high, medium or low interaction among key stakeholders, integration of coalitions and negotiating skills of all stakeholders involved. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.