When you are an immigrant living in the United States without status, figuring out where you stand in terms of access to healthcare can be a tricky arena to navigate. However, knowing your rights when it comes to managing your health should never be a daunting task. This article is meant to provide insight and peace for immigrants living without status in the U.S. in terms of the direction to take when seeking healthcare benefits.
Immigrants living without status in the U.S. unfortunately have minimal coverage options when it comes to healthcare. They are ineligible to apply for programs like Medicaid (terms apply for those under the age of 26 living in the state of California), Medicare or the Children’s Health Insurance Program. Immigrants without status do not meet the requirements to qualify to apply for Affordable Care Act Marketplace health coverage. Depending on the state in which one resides within the U.S., women have the option of acquiring coverage for prenatal care regardless of their immigration status. Some student health programs cover immigrants without
As a result of these limited options and constant “toxic stress of deportation” (rwjf.org) that immigrants without status face on a day to day basis, studies conclude that “overall, immigrants have lower rates of health insurance, use less health care and receive lower quality of care than U.S.-born population”. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Although options are limited, they are not nonexistent. California, Illinois, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon and Washington D.C. are six states that use state only funds to cover income-eligible children regardless of their status. In addition, low-income undocumented young adults living in the state of Califorrnia are eligible to be covered by Medicaid (Medi-Cal in California) until the age of 26 since January 2020. Given these terms, some of the limited options that immigrants without status do have available to them in terms of access to health care can be pricy given the inability of many to access subsidies for coverage. One of these options include that they are that they are able to purchase private insurance on the Marketplace.
Some more affordable options for an immigrant without status’ basic access to healthcare is seeking basic primary care throught community health centers. They can also access family planning and basic reproductive health care through Title X Clinics (click the link to find the Title X Clinic nearest to you). Lastly, in the case of an emergency, all hospital emergency rooms must screen and stabalize patients and provide basic emergency care under federal law.
To learn more about the barriers between healthcare and immigrants living in the United States without status and what you can do to help, visit rwjf.org for more information.