Health Care options available to undocumented immigrants have become tricky because undocumented immigrants cannot purchase insurance through the Federal and State Marketplaces set up under Obamacare and they do not qualify for Medicaid.
This means that many undocumented immigrants are not getting the care they need. One study showed that 64% of undocumented immigrants were uninsured. This is a huge problem in our community considering that between 2000 and 2011 alone undocumented immigrant workers contributed $351 Billion dollars more into the health care system than what they used.
If you are an undocumented immigrant, you have several choices in order to get medical care and medical coverage:
Private Pay- You can shop for different local clinics and pay for services out of your own pocket. Local clinics may offer certain services like routine checkups at an affordable price. This will probably be your most expensive option.
Pay for private insurance- Buying insurance outside of the federal marketplace is definitely an option. This may be less expensive than paying out of pocket. There are many plans available and usually, you can try to choose one that matches your budget.
Use of urgent care – Last resort option. If you walk into an emergency room in this country, they will give you service regardless of you having insurance or your immigration status. Unlike, other places not being able to pay the bill will not bring criminal charges or most American’s would be in jail as many have health care debt.
Apply for emergency medical assistance – In some situations publicly funding assistance may be available but it is very limited both in duration and in scope of coverage. This is only available for “emergency medical conditions” which are serious medical conditions with acute symptoms of such severity, including severe pain, that without immediate medical attention:
- The person’s health is in serious jeopardy; or
- The person faces serious impairment to bodily function; or
- The person faces serious dysfunction of any body organ or part.
For more information on Emergency Medical Assistance visit: www.phlp.org/home-page/providers/provider-faq/emergency-medical-assistance-for-immigrants-ema
So, let’s pay more attention to our health and wellness so that we can live long lives with our families!
By Abraham Cepeda