New Resource from Legal Experts about Access to Health Insurance

Earlier this month, the experts at CLASP, NILC and NHeLP teamed up and released a new resource, 10 Facts About Access to Health Insurance for Immigrants and their Families, breaking down the barrage of anti-immigrant polices in just 2, easily understood pages. This resource comes just in time for open enrollment – for ACA Marketplace coverage in 2020, families must apply by December 15. (Families can apply for and enroll in Medicaid and CHIP year-round.)

It is definitely worth reading the whole document, but I wanted to highlight 3 of the 10 facts.

Courts have blocked the Trump Administration from using rules that could penalize immigrants with low and moderate incomes for using Medicaid. Readers of SayAhhh! are very familiar with the proposed changes to public charge rules and know that courts blocked the final rule from going into effect, but it bears repeating. Even if the rule changes never go into effect, the Administration has created a climate of fear just by proposing these and other anti-immigrant policies. At a time when we’re seeing increases in the rate of uninsured children and declines in Medicaid and CHIP child enrollment, it is more important than ever to make sure families are armed with the facts as they make their coverage decisions.

Immigrants who do not qualify for health insurance affordability programs for themselves can still apply for their children and other family members who are eligible. Almost 90% of children in immigrant families are citizens. Parents can apply for Medicaid, CHIP, and subsidized coverage in the ACA Marketplace on behalf of their children, without providing any information about their own immigration or citizenship status. Longstanding coverage disparities show that citizen children with immigrant parents are more likely to be uninsured (7%) than citizen children with U.S.-born parents (4%), but with concerted effort, we can narrow those coverage gaps.

Applying for health insurance will not put undocumented family members at risk. Medicaid, CHIP and ACA Marketplace agencies must protect the privacy of applicants under federal and state laws. Applicants’ information is shared between agencies for the purpose of administering the health programs, but will not be used for immigration enforcement purposes.

The Trump Administration has worked to create a climate of fear among immigrant communities, and they’ve been successful. But we can combat fear with facts – check out this new resource and go to healthcare.gov to look into your health coverage options today.

 

Kelly Whitener
Kelly Whitener is an Associate Professor of the Practice at the Center for Children and Families

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