Immigration News 2014: Undocumented Immigrants Deal With Limited Healthcare Options
Despite the recently launched Affordable Care Act providing limited access for undocumented immigrants to Medicaid and private health insurance companies, the federal law prohibits them from those programs.
Laurel Lucia, a policy analyst at the UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education, told the Los Angeles Times that many undocumented immigrants hesitate to seek out such programs.
Undocumented immigrants "say fear of deportation for themselves or family members is a barrier in terms of signing up for coverage and accessing healthcare services," Lucia said.
She also said that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement promised to not use information that both documented and undocumented immigrants submit to health care providers against them or their family members.
There are few viable options for immigrants that are attending colleges or universities after coming to the U.S. at their parents' demands and were raised in the states, according to the Times.
Student health plans are offered at many schools across the nation that enforce students to have health insurance. The plans are affordable and the schools do not require individuals to disclose immigration status.
Many jobs in the U.S. also offer health insurance to their employees, also without making them show proof of immigration status.
For the undocumented immigrants that are not in school or do not have jobs that offer insurance, undocumented individuals are allowed to buy private health care coverage if they go directly to an insurance carrier or broker, the Times reported.
However, for the one million undocumented immigrants estimated living in California, they cannot get coverage through Covered California but they can enroll in Medi-Cal, which provides low-cost coverage options for lower-income residents.
According to the Times, the Affordable Care Act prohibits undocumented immigrants from receiving healthcare from Medicaid.
But with Medi-Cal, Californians who qualify under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) law can sign up.
DACA was initiated in 2012 and provides temporary work authorization status and protection for deportation for children who came to the U.S. before the age of 16.
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